Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine

: 2016  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 131--133

Contrast-enhanced fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in solid pseudopapillary neoplasm of the pancreas

Sampath Santhosh1, Ramesh Kumar Lakshmanan1, Bhavay Sonik1, Rajagopalan Padmavathy2, Rajamani Emmanuel Gunaseelan1,  
1 Bharat Nuclear Scans and Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography, Bharat Scans Private Limited, 197, Peters Road, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Bharat Specialties Lab, Bharat Scans Private Limited, 197, Peters Road, Royapettah, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Sampath Santhosh
Bharat Nuclear Scans and Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography, Bharat Scans Private Limited, 197, Peters Road, Royapettah, Chennai - 600 014, Tamil Nadu


Solid pseudopapillary neoplasm (SPN) of the pancreas is a rare pancreatic tumor with low malignant potential. It occurs characteristically more often in young women. Radiological and pathological studies have revealed that the tumor is quite different from other pancreatic tumors. Limited information is available in the literature reporting their accumulation of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) in positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT). Here, we report a case of pancreatic SPN imaged with contrast-enhanced FDG PET/CT. A percutaneous fine needle aspiration from the metabolically active lesion revealed SPN, and it was confirmed with histopathological results. Recurrence or metastasis was not found after 7 months of follow-up.

How to cite this article:
Santhosh S, Lakshmanan RK, Sonik B, Padmavathy R, Gunaseelan RE. Contrast-enhanced fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in solid pseudopapillary neoplasm of the pancreas.Indian J Nucl Med 2016;31:131-133

How to cite this URL:
Santhosh S, Lakshmanan RK, Sonik B, Padmavathy R, Gunaseelan RE. Contrast-enhanced fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in solid pseudopapillary neoplasm of the pancreas. Indian J Nucl Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 May 8 ];31:131-133
Available from:

Full Text


Solid pseudopapillary neoplasm (SPN) is a rare exocrine tumor of the pancreas, with 2-3% incidence rate among primary pancreatic tumors and 10-15% incidence rate among cystic tumors of the pancreas. [1],[2] The neoplasm was first described by Frantz in 1959. [3] Because of its rarity, the literature contains few reports of this tumor; however, reports regarding fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) in SPN have increased significantly in the past 10 years. [4] We present radiological, FDG PET/CT, and cytological findings of a case of SPN.

 Case Report

An 18-year-old female presented with a complaint of abdominal distention on the left side that was gradually increasing in size over a period of 18 months. There was an associated sensation of abdominal fullness and pain over the last 1 month. Her menstrual cycles were regular. She had undergone appendicectomy for acute appendicitis, 5 years back. All laboratory investigations, including tumor markers, were within the normal ranges. CT of the abdomen showed a heterogeneously enhancing mass lesion replacing the body and tail of the pancreas with solid and cystic hemorrhagic areas. She was referred for FDG PET/CT scan to characterize the pancreatic lesion. The FDG PET/CT [Figure 1] and [Figure 2] showed intense FDG uptake (maximum standardized uptake value [SUVmax] 20.0) in the solid enhancing portions of the mass lesion in the pancreas. There were no other regional or distant FDG avid lesions. Based on the CT and PET findings, a solid cystic neoplasm of the pancreas was considered. The large FDG avid solid portion of the lesion was just near the anterior abdominal wall, suitable for percutaneous fine needle aspiration (FNA) that was done subsequently. FNA cytology showed features of a solid and cystic neoplasm of the pancreas [Figure 3]. The patient underwent distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy. Histological findings of the surgical specimen showed a partially encapsulated tumor consisting of uniform polygonal cells, with moderate to abundant amphophilic cytoplasm and arranged in solid nests, with areas of degeneration characterized by separation of the cells into pseudo papillary aggregates, and with an intervening accumulation of mucopolysaccharide rich ground substance consistent with features of SPN of the pancreas. The postoperative course was uneventful. The patient is currently disease free after 7 months of surgery.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}


SPN usually affects young women at an average age of 28 years with a female:male ratio of 10:1. [5] About 20-25% of the cases are seen in pediatric patients. [6] The clinical presentation of SPN is nonspecific. Most of the patients present with nonspecific symptoms including abdominal discomfort, mild abdominal pain, or palpable abdominal mass. [7] Due to slow growth, SPN often remains asymptomatic, until the tumor has enlarged considerably as seen in our patient. The most common site of SPN is the tail of the pancreas, followed by the head and the body. [6] The diagnosis can be confirmed by percutaneous core needle biopsy with ultrasound or CT-guidance, as shown in our case. [8]

SPN has a good prognosis after adequate resection, and preoperative diagnosis can be helpful in surgical planning. In a case series of 8 tumors, CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings included encapsulation, solid and cystic components, focal calcification, and weak enhancement during the arterial phase on enhanced CT or MRI and increasing enhancement during the portal venous phase (most specific finding). All the tumors showed increased FDG uptake. The mean SUVmax of all tumors was 8.9, ranging from 2.5 to 29.1. On pathological correlation, the tumors with high cellularity, high proliferative index, pancreatic parenchymal, vascular, or perineural invasions had stronger FDG uptake. [9] A similar observation has been made by Nakagohri et al. [10] Thus, FDG PET/CT can potentially reflect the histopathological composition of the tumors. On delayed FDG PET/CT images, the SUVmax of SPN increased in 4 patients and slightly decreased in 2 patients. [9] Sato et al. have also showed a decrease in SUVmax in delayed images and suggested that SUVmax of early and delayed scan may be of little value in differentiating benign from malignant SPN. [11]

SPN is usually benign, based on its pathological features. However, it always shows hypermetabolism on the fluorine-18 ( 18 F)-FDG PET scan, which is a characteristic feature of malignant tumors. The high cellular density, rich mitochondria, and the hypervascular nature as shown in radiological findings have been thought to contribute to the FDG accumulation. [9] In addition, because of the high FDG avidity of SPNs, Guan et al. have concluded that SPN cannot be differentiated from pancreatic adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors based on the SUVmax. [4] In a study comparing pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas, SPNs had significantly higher tumor size-adjusted metabolic tumor volume and tumor lesion glycolysis. [12]

The curative treatment is a complete surgical resection. [13] In rare cases, SPN metastasizes to liver or seeds the peritoneum. PET/CT can reveal unsuspected metastases in the liver and mesentery. [12] In our patient, 18 F-FDG PET staged the tumor to be confined to the pancreas without metastases, and she had safely undergone surgical resection. In an analysis of the 114 patients with pathologically confirmed SPN, 26 (22.8%) had solid pseudopapillary carcinoma (SPC). There were no differences in any clinical factors between the benign SPN and SPC groups, and only 4 recurrences identified were in the SPC group. [14] Because of the indolent entity, patients usually have a very good prognosis with less likelihood of recurrence and metastasis after the resection of SPN. [6],[14] In addition, our patient is disease free after 7 months of follow-up. To conclude, FDG PET/CT helps in identifying metabolically active areas in solid cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. Biopsy from these active areas can give an adequate yield of viable tumor cells that helps in achieving a faster diagnosis.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Adams AL, Siegal GP, Jhala NC. Solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas: A review of salient clinical and pathologic features. Adv Anat Pathol 2008;15:39-45.
2Allen PJ, D'Angelica M, Gonen M, Jaques DP, Coit DG, Jarnagin WR, et al. A selective approach to the resection of cystic lesions of the pancreas: Results from 539 consecutive patients. Ann Surg 2006;244:572-82.
3Frantz V. Tumors of the pancreas. In: Bumberg CW, editor. Atlas of Tumor Pathology. VII. Fascicles 27 and 28. Washington, DC: Armed Forced Institute of Pathology; 1959.
4Guan ZW, Xu BX, Wang RM, Sun L, Tian JH. Hyperaccumulation of (18)F-FDG in order to differentiate solid pseudopapillary tumors from adenocarcinomas and from neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors and review of the literature. Hell J Nucl Med 2013;16:97-102.
5Yu PF, Hu ZH, Wang XB, Guo JM, Cheng XD, Zhang YL, et al. Solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas: A review of 553 cases in Chinese literature. World J Gastroenterol 2010;16:1209-14.
6Papavramidis T, Papavramidis S. Solid pseudopapillary tumors of the pancreas: Review of 718 patients reported in English literature. J Am Coll Surg 2005;200:965-72.
7Reddy S, Cameron JL, Scudiere J, Hruban RH, Fishman EK, Ahuja N, et al. Surgical management of solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms of the pancreas (Franz or Hamoudi tumors): A large single-institutional series. J Am Coll Surg 2009;208:950-7.
8Zamboni GA, D'Onofrio M, Principe F, Pozzi Mucelli R. Focal pancreatic lesions: Accuracy and complications of US-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology. Abdom Imaging 2010;35:362-6.
9Dong A, Wang Y, Dong H, Zhang J, Cheng C, Zuo C. FDG PET/CT findings of solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas with CT and MRI correlation. Clin Nucl Med 2013;38:e118-24.
10Nakagohri T, Kinoshita T, Konishi M, Takahashi S, Gotohda N. Surgical outcome of solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas. J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg 2008;15:318-21.
11Sato M, Takasaka I, Okumura T, Shioyama Y, Kawasaki H, Mise Y, et al. High F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose accumulation in solid pseudo-papillary tumors of the pancreas. Ann Nucl Med 2006;20:431-6.
12Kim YI, Kim SK, Paeng JC, Lee HY. Comparison of F-18-FDG PET/CT findings between pancreatic solid pseudopapillary tumor and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Eur J Radiol 2014;83:231-5.
13Canzonieri V, Berretta M, Buonadonna A, Libra M, Vasquez E, Barbagallo E, et al. Solid pseudopapillary tumour of the pancreas. Lancet Oncol 2003;4:255-6.
14Kim CW, Han DJ, Kim J, Kim YH, Park JB, Kim SC. Solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas: Can malignancy be predicted? Surgery 2011;149:625-34.