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The adjunctive role of magnetic resonance imaging of the liver before pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma has been unclear. We evaluated whether the combination of hepatic magnetic resonance imaging with multidetector computed tomography using a pancreatic protocol (pCT) could help surgeons select appropriate candidates and decrease the risk of early recurrence.We retrospectively enrolled 167 patients in whom complete resection was achieved without grossly visible residual tumor; 102 patients underwent pCT alone (CT group) and 65 underwent both hepatic magnetic resonance imaging and pCT (magnetic resonance imaging group).By adding hepatic magnetic resonance imaging during preoperative evaluation, hepatic metastases were newly discovered in 3 of 58 patients (5%) without hepatic lesions on pCT and 17 of 53 patients (32%) with indeterminate hepatic lesions on pCT. Patients with borderline resectability, a tumor size >3 cm, or preoperative carbohydrate antigen 19–9 level >1,000 U/mL had a greater rate of hepatic metastasis on subsequent hepatic magnetic resonance imaging. Among 167 patients in whom R0/R1 resection was achieved, the median overall survival was 18.2 vs 24.7 months (P = .020) and the disease-free survival was 8.5 vs 10.0 months (P = .016) in the CT and magnetic resonance imaging groups, respectively (median follow-up, 18.3 months). Recurrence developed in 82 (80%) and 43 (66%) patients in the CT and magnetic resonance imaging groups, respectively. The cumulative hepatic recurrence rate was greater in the CT group than in the magnetic resonance imaging group (P < .001).Preoperative hepatic magnetic resonance imaging should be considered in patients with potentially resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, especially those with high tumor burden.