Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in Western societies. It is an aggressive tumor with an overall 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. Surgical resection offers the only possibility of cure and long-term survival for patients suffering from PC; however, unfortunately, fewer than 20% of patients suffering from PC have disease that is amendable to surgical resection. Therefore, it is important to accurately diagnose and stage these patients to enable optimal treatment of their disease. The imaging modalities involved in the diagnosis and staging of PC include multidetector CT scanning, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography and MRI. The roles and relative importance of these imaging modalities have changed over the last few decades and continue to change owing to the rapid technological advances in medical imaging, but these investigations continue to be complementary. EUS was first introduced in the mid-1980s in Japan and Germany and has quickly gained acceptance. Its widespread use in the last decade has revolutionized the management of pancreatic disease as it simultaneously provides primary diagnostic and staging information, as well as enabling tissue biopsy. This article discusses the potential benefits and drawbacks of EUS in the primary diagnosis, staging and assessment of resectability, and EUS-guided fine-needle aspiration in PC. Difficult diagnostic scenarios and pitfalls are also discussed. A suggested management algorithm for patients with suspected PC is also presented.
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsy
- Management algorithm
- Pancreatic cancer
- Pancreatic surgery