Current status on the diagnosis and evaluation of pancreatic tumor in Asia with particular emphasis on the role of endoscopic ultrasound


  • Disclosures: All authors declare no conflict of interest.


Professor Khek-Yu Ho, Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, NUHS Tower Block Level 10, 1E Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074. Email:


In Asia, the incidence of pancreatic cancer in some countries has been increasing. Owing to most cases being diagnosed late, prognosis for pancreatic cancer remains dismal. It is clear that the future for pancreatic cancer lies in early detection. While the possible presence of pancreatic masses is often first raised by non-invasive abdominal imaging, such as computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, smaller lesions and locoregional lymph node metastases are often not detectable by these means. Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) offers a higher sensitivity (93–100%) for detection of small potentially curable pancreatic masses than other existing imaging modalities. It is also recommended for the evaluation of portal vein confluence, portal vein, celiac axis, and superior mesentric artery origin, and exclusion of resectability. Due to the closer proximity of EUS to the target structure, and lower rate of needle tract seeding, EUS-guided fine-needle aspiration of pancreatic mass is considered the most suitable tissue acquisition technique. Lastly, EUS also enables the performance of endoscopic interventions. Its performance can be further enhanced with newer techniques, including contrast-enhanced ultrasound and elastrography. It is anticipated that in the near future, molecular technologies may make it possible to detect microscopic amounts of cancer in tissue or blood, predict relapse and survival after therapy, as well as determine optimal therapy.