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Imaging differentiation of solid pseudopapillary neoplasms and neuroendocrine neoplasms of the pancreas.

PURPOSE: The present study aimed to compare the computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of solid pseudopapillary neoplasms (SPNs) and pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (pNENs).

METHOD: Lesion imaging features of 39 patients with SPNs and 127 patients with pNENs were retrospectively extracted from 104 CT and 91 MRI scans.

RESULTS: Compared to pNEN patients, SPN patients were significantly younger (mean age 51.8 yrs versus 32.7 yrs) and more often female (female: male ratio, 5.50:1 versus 1.19:1). Most SPNs and pNENs presented as well-defined lesions with an expansive growth pattern. SPNs more often appeared as round or ovoid lesions, compared to pNENs which showed a lobulated or irregular shape in more than half of cases (p<0.01). A surrounding capsule was detected in the majority of SPNs, but only in a minority of pNENs (<0.01). Hemorrhage occurred non-significantly more often in SPNs (p=0.09). Signal inhomogeneity in T1-fat-saturated (p<0.01) and T2-weighted imaging (p=0.046) as well as cystic degeneration (p<0.01) were more often observed in SPNs. Hyperenhancement in the arterial and portal-venous phase was more common in pNENs (p<0.01). Enlargement of locoregional lymph nodes (p<0.01) and liver metastases (p=0.03) were observed in some pNEN patients, but not in SPN patients. Multivariate logistic regression identified the presence of a capsule (p<0.01), absence of arterial hyperenhancement (p<0.01), and low patient age (p<0.01), as independent predictors for SPN.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides three key features for differentiating SPNs from pNENs extracted from a large patient cohort: presence of a capsule, absence of arterial hyperenhancement, and low patient age.

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