Purpose: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for depicting pancreatic small, functional islet cell tumors and the minimum number of sequences for expedient diagnosis.
Materials and methods: Twenty-eight patients clinically suspected to have functional islet cell tumors underwent T1- and T2-weighted spin-echo (SE) MR imaging with and without fat suppression, T2-weighted fast SE imaging, and spoiled gradient-echo (GRE) imaging before and after injection of gadopentetate dimeglumine. Sensitivity, specificity, and the best and minimum number of sequences for definitive diagnosis were determined.
Results: MR images depicted proved islet cell tumors in 17 of 20 patients (sensitivity, 85%). Images were true-negative in eight patients with negative follow-up examination results for more than 1 year. Specificity was 100%; positive predictive value, 100%; and negative predictive value, 73%. Among 20 patients with tumor, T1-weighted SE images with fat suppression and nonenhanced spoiled GRE images each showed lesions in 15 (75%); T2-weighted conventional SE with fat suppression, in 13 (65%); gadolinium-enhanced spoiled GRE, in 12 (60%); and T2-weighted fast SE, in seven of 10 patients (70%).
Conclusion: MR imaging accurately depicts small islet cell tumors. T2-weighted fast SE and spoiled GRE sequences usually suffice. Gadolinium-enhanced sequences are needed only if MR imaging results are equivocal or negative.