Diffusion weighted MR imaging of pancreatic islet cell tumors

Eur J Radiol. 2010 Apr;74(1):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.02.003. Epub 2009 Mar 4.


Purpose: The aim of our study is to demonstrate the feasibility of body diffusion weighted (DW) MR imaging in the evaluation of pancreatic islet cell tumors (ICTs) and to define apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values for these tumors.

Materials and methods: 12 normal volunteers and 12 patients with histopathologically proven pancreatic ICT by surgery were included in the study. DW MR images were obtained by a body-phased array coil using a multisection single-shot echo planar sequence on the axial plane without breath holding. In addition, the routine abdominal imaging protocol for pancreas was applied in the patient group. We measured the ADC value within the normal pancreas in control group, pancreatic ICT, and surrounding pancreas parenchyma. Mann-Whitney U-test has been used to compare ADC values between tumoral tissues and normal pancreatic tissues of the volunteers. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test was preferred to compare ADC values between tumoral tissues and surrounding pancreatic parenchyma of the patients.

Results: In 11 patients out of 12, conventional MR sequences were able to demonstrate ICTs succesfully. In 1 patient an indistinct suspicious lesion was noted at the pancreatic tail. DW sequence was able to demonstrate the lesions in all of the 12 patients. On the DW images, all ICTs demonstrated high signal intensity relative to the surrounding pancreatic parenchyma. The mean and standard deviations of the ADC values (x10(-3)mm(2)/s) were as follows: ICT (n=12), 1.51+/-0.35 (0.91-2.11), surrounding parenchyma (n=11) 0.76+/-0.15 (0.51-1.01) and normal pancreas in normal volunteers (n=12), 0.80+/-0.06 (0.72-0.90). ADC values of the ICT were significantly higher compared with those of surrounding parenchyma (p<0.01) and normal pancreas (p<0.001).

Conclusion: DW MR imaging does not appear to provide significant contribution to routine MR imaging protocol in the evaluation of pancreatic islet cell tumors. But it can be added to MR imaging protocol to detect the lesion in a limited number of patients with clinical suspicion for pancreatic ICT with negative or suspicious imaging findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / diagnostic imaging*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Reference Standards