Nonfunctioning endocrine tumors of the pancreas: Possibilities of spiral CT characterization

C. Procacci, G. Carbognin, S. Accordini, C. Biasiutti, E. Bicego, L. Romano, A. Guarise, S. Minniti, N. Pagnotta, M. Falconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess the ability of spiral CT to adequately characterize the non-functioning endocrine tumors (NFETs) of the pancreas, distinguishing this lesion from the other pancreatic tumors. The spiral CT examinations of 21 cases of histologically proven NFETs, along with those of 29 cases of other pancreatic tumors and tumor-like lesions, were retrospectively reviewed in a blinded fashion by two radiologists, in order to correctly classify the lesions, highlighting the typical signs reported in the literature. Discordant cases were further analyzed in the presence of a third radiologist. The final diagnosis was acquired by means of a majority or overall consensus. The histopathologic examination was considered the gold standard. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of CT were calculated. After the consensus evaluation, the correct diagnosis was reached in 72% of cases, with 10% of nonspecific diagnoses of solid pancreatic tumor and 18% of wrong diagnoses. The sensitivity and specificity of spiral CT in identifying NFETs were 66.6 and 82.7%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 73.7 and 77.4%, respectively. In up to 70% of cases the NFET demonstrates a typical aspect of a mass hyperdense in the arterial contrastographic phase eventually associated with hyperdense hepatic metastases in more than half of the patients. This finding does allow the diagnosis of NFET but without certainty indeed, since other tumors can show a similar densitometric behavior and among them particularly the ductal adenocarcinoma. On the other hand, both the solid, hypovascularized NFETs, and the cystic form, cannot be differentiated from the other solid and cystic tumors of the pancreas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1183
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • CT
  • Endocrine tumors
  • Pancreas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonfunctioning endocrine tumors of the pancreas: Possibilities of spiral CT characterization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this