Choi, S.J., Kim, H.S. & Park, H. Journal of the Korean Physical Society (2014) 64: 313. doi:10.3938/jkps.64.313
Distinguishing among different solid pancreatic tumor types, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), and solid pseudopapillary tumors (SPTs) is important, as the treatment options are vastly different. This study compared characteristics of solid pancreatic tumors by using dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Fifty patients underwent MR imaging of pancreatic masses with a histopathology that was later confirmed as an adenocarcinoma (n = 27), a NET (n = 16), and a SPT (n = 7). For qualitative analysis, two reviewers evaluated the morphologic features of the tumors: locations, margins, shapes, contained products, pancreatic ductal dilatation, and grade of signal intensity (SI). For the quantitative analysis, all phases of the MR images were co-registered using proprietary image registration software; thus, a region of interest (ROI) defined on one phase could be re-applied in other phases. The following four ratios were considered: tumor-to-uninvolved pancreas SI ratio, percent SI change, tumor-touninvolved pancreas enhancement index, and arterial-to-delayed washout rate. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were assessed for the four ratios. Adenocarcinomas had ill-defined margins, irregular shapes, and ductal dilatation compared with NETs and SPTs (P < 0.001). The tumor-to-uninvolved pancreas ratio on all dynamic phases was significantly higher for NETs than for both adenocarcinomas and SPTs (P < 0.05). Percentage SI changes of pancreatic tumors on the pancreatic and the portal venous phases were significantly higher for NETs than for both adenocarcinomas and SPTs (P < 0.05). A significant difference between NETs and adenocarcinomas was also found with respect to the tumor-to-uninvolved pancreas enhancement index and arterial-to-delayed washout rate. The percentage SI changes in the pancreatic phase and the arterial-to-delayed washout rate best distinguished between adenocarcinomas and NETs with the area under the ROC curve being 0.87. The percentage SI changes in the pancreatic and the portal venous phases best distinguished between NETs and SPTs with area under the ROC curve 0.87. In summary, contrast-enhanced MRI can be useful in differentiating solid pancreatic tumors in qualitative and quantitative analyses.