Mimics of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Mahmoud M. Al-Hawary, Ravi K. Kaza, Shadi F. Azar, Julie A. Ruma, Isaac R. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Several uncommon primary pancreatic tumors, inflammatory conditions, metastasis to the pancreas and peripancreatic masses can mimic the appearance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). Differentiation between these lesions and PDA can be challenging, due to the overlap in imaging features; however, familiarity with their typical imaging features and clinical presentation may be helpful in their differentiation, as in some cases, invasive diagnostic tests or unnecessary surgery can be avoided. The different pathologies that can mimic PDA include inflammatory conditions such as the various forms of pancreatitis (chronic-focal mass-forming, autoimmune and groove pancreatitis), pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, solid pseudopapillary tumors, metastasis (solid non-lymphomatous and hematologic), congenital variants (annular pancreas), as well as peripancreatic lesions (accessory spleen, adrenal masses, duodenal masses, lymph nodes and vascular lesions), and certain rare pancreatic tumors (e.g., acinar cell tumors, solid serous tumors, hamartoma and solitary fibrous tumors). The clinical presentation and imaging features of the most commonly encountered mimics of PDA are discussed in this presentation with representative illustrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Metastasis
  • Mimics
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peripancreatic
  • Primary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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