Imaging Assessment of Pancreatic Cancer Resectability After Neoadjuvant Therapy: AJR Expert Panel Narrative Review

Erik V. Soloff, Mahmoud M. Al-Hawary, Terry S. Desser, Elliot K. Fishman, Rebecca M. Minter, Marc Zins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite important innovations in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), PDAC remains a disease with poor prognosis and high mortality. A key area for potential improvement in the management of PDAC, aside from earlier detection in patients with treatable disease, is the improved ability of imaging techniques to differentiate treatment response after neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) from worsening disease. It is well established that current imaging techniques cannot reliably make this distinction. This narrative review provides an update on the imaging assessment of pancreatic cancer resectability after NAT. Current definitions of borderline resectable PDAC, as well as implications for determining likely patient benefit from NAT, are described. Challenges associated with PDAC pathologic evaluation and surgical decision making that are of relevance to radiologists are discussed. Also explored are the specific limitations of imaging in differentiating the response after NAT from stable or worsening disease, including issues relating to protocol optimization, tumor size assessment, vascular assessment, and liver metastasis detection. The roles of MRI as well as PET and/or hybrid imaging are considered. Finally, a short PDAC reporting template is provided for use after NAT. The highlighted methods seek to improve radiologists’ assessment of PDAC treatment response after NAT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-581
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • neoadjuvant therapy
  • pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • radiology reporting template

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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