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Prospective study of the detection and treatment of small tumors of the head of the pancreas

Prospective study of the detection and treatment of small tumors of the head of the pancreas,10.1007/BF02349248,Journal of Hepato-biliary-pancreatic S

Prospective study of the detection and treatment of small tumors of the head of the pancreas   (Citations: 2)
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The size of a pancreatic ductal carcinoma is one of the factors that has the greatest impact on the prognosis of the disease. Precise measurement of tumor size in such cases can obviously be achieved only by the pathologist, but, as a result of the increasingly widespread use and refinement of imaging procedures, a fairly accurate preoperative estimate now appears feasible for identifying those lesions which measure ≤2 m in size and which are conventionally defined as “small tumors.” At tomography, 15/72 patients (20.8%) with cancer of the head of the pancreas observed in our department over the period 1991 to 1994 were prospectively identified as having tumors measuring ≤2 cm. Histology subsequently confirmed that the growths measured 2 cm or less in size in only 4 of these patients, thus revealing that the imaging technique tended to underestimate the tumor diameters. If we exclude the mean time elapsing from onset of symptoms to diagnosis, which was found to be significantly shorter in small than in non-small tumors (6.3 vs 34.2 days,P <0.01), no statistically significant differences were observed in any of the clinical and blood chemistry data evaluated (including CA 19-9 values) in patients with small vs non-small tumors who underwent radical resection. Small tumors of the pancreas are still rare and their diagnosis is often incidental (2/4 in this case series) and can only be confirmed by pathology findings. The radiological detection of a small tumor, however, is strongly suggestive of resectability (more than 70% in this series). This should prompt the surgeon to adopt an aggressive approach, even though the topographical location and biological nature of tumors measuring ≤2 cm are known to be capable of substantially undermining their potentially better prognosis.
Journal: Journal of Hepato-biliary-pancreatic Surgery , vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 347-351, 1995
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