The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency in which the pelvis component of an abdominopelvic CT provides information that would influence clinical management in two separate groups of patients: those with previously resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and those with locally advanced unresectable PDA.
This institutional review-board approved HIPAA compliant retrospective study with waived informed consent included 247 subjects with histologically proven PDA, including 153 subjects post-pancreaticoduodenectomy and 94 subjects with locally advanced unresectable disease. Imaging reports interpreted between January 2005 and December 2013 were obtained from our institution’s Radiology Information System by searching a Cancer Registry database of PDA patients separately for the words “whipple” and “unresectable.” CT findings were separated by location in the abdomen or pelvis, and subsequently reviewed and graded for their likelihood of representing metastatic disease. The probability of pelvic CT influencing clinical management—i.e., of finding isolated pelvic metastatic disease—was determined using 95% binomial proportion confidence intervals for both the post-pancreaticoduodenectomy and locally advanced unresectable groups.
No subjects who had undergone pancreaticoduodenectomy had an isolated pelvic metastasis on follow-up imaging (0%; 95% CI 0–2.38, p = 0.0004); 33 had metastatic disease in the abdomen, and 120 had no or equivocal evidence of abdominopelvic metastatic disease. One subject with locally advanced unresectable PDA had a possible isolated pelvic metastasis on follow-up imaging (1.1%; 95% CI 0.03–5.79, p = 0.048); 20 had metastatic disease in the abdomen, and 73 had no or equivocal evidence of abdominopelvic metastatic disease.
Isolated pelvic metastatic disease rarely occurs in patients with PDA who have had prior pancreaticoduodenectomy or have a locally advanced unresectable primary tumor, suggesting routine pelvic CT in follow-up imaging of these patients may not be necessary.