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School of Medicine




The high mortality rate associated with pancreatic cancer necessitates accurate and early detection methods. Computed tomography currently is the primary diagnostic modality used; however, subtle imaging features in concert with novel clinical presentations may obscure the initial diagnosis. Here, we describe a unique initial presentation of pancreatic cancer as a pancreatic leak, with subtle initial CT evidence of malignancy. An 83-year-old female with prior surgical history of open splenectomy and ventral hernia repair presented with two weeks of vague abdominal pain and leukocytosis. Initial CT revealed abdominal peripancreatic fluid collections. Interventional radiology-guided drain placement was performed, which revealed amylase-rich pancreatic fluid within the collections. Repeat CT scan revealed subtle pancreatic duct dilation with slow resolution of the fluid collections. Ultimately, endoscopic ultrasound identified an ill-defined pancreatic mass, revealed to be pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The patient subsequently underwent an open distal pancreatectomy. Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer relies heavily on cross-sectional imaging, with no screening tests currently available. However, subtle radiographic features and unique clinical presentations may delay accurate diagnosis and staging. EUS may be a useful tool for initial evaluation of high-risk individuals.

Source Citation

Liu, A., Zeh, H. J., & Boone, B. A. (2019). Pancreatic Cancer Presenting as a Pancreatic Duct Disruption. Case Reports in Surgery, 2019, 1–4.


Copyright © 2019 Annie Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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