The duct penetrating sign is a radiographic sign which can be useful in differentiating between focal pancreatitis (inflammatory pancreatic mass) from pancreatic carcinoma.
A positive sign is when a mass is penetrated by an unobstructed pancreatic duct; this makes focal pancreatitis the most likely cause rather than pancreatic carcinoma. This sign is best appreciated on MRCP (or ERCP).
The duct-penetrating sign on MRCP is more helpful in differentiating between these two entities than a delayed enhancement pattern on CT or MRI.
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