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Synchronous intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm and a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor: more than a coincidence?

BACKGROUND: Although the association between intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm of the pancreas (IPMN) and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) has been increasingly reported, whether this association is real or coincidence remains unclear. We report a case of synchronous IPMN and a PNET which were diagnosed preoperatively and discuss the tumorigenesis, clinicopathological features and management of these rare tumors based on the published literature.

CASE REPORT: A 56-year-old male was incidentally diagnosed with a 14 mm branch duct IPMN and a 3.6 mm non-functional PNET during an evaluation due to persistent upper abdominal pain via endoscopic ultrasound. Close follow-up of the patient was decided as the IPMN had no worrisome features. A review of twenty-two previously reported cases of synchronous IPMN and PNET indicated that: a) only seven cases were diagnosed preoperatively; b) abdominal pain was the main presenting symptom; c) IPMN was the dominant tumor and presented with low grade dysplasia; d) the PNET was small and non-functional and had an indolent behavior; and e) only one case underwent radiologic follow-up.

DISCUSSION: IPMN are associated with other pancreatic and extrapancreatic malignancies. Thus, the entire pancreatic parenchyma should be examined closely during the evaluation of an IPMN in order to exclude other pancreatic lesions, for example, a PNET.

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