Conventional ultrasonography represents the first diagnostic imaging modality for the study of pancreatic tumors. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound has significantly improved the accuracy of first-line examination and may influence the choice of second-line investigations: multidetector computed tomography is considered the gold standard for studying pancreatic solid lesions and tumor staging, while MRI with magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography allows better study of pancreatic cystic lesions and the ductal system. To definitely diagnose a pancreatic lesion, image-guided fine-needle-aspiration or biopsy are very often required. PET with 18-fluorodeoxyglucose, endoscopic ultrasound and intraoperative ultrasonography remain techniques often employed in the third line. This article reviews the imaging techniques generally used for diagnosing the main pancreatic tumors, and a work-up algorithm is finally proposed.
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