Enlarged pancreas: not always a cancer

Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2015 Feb;14(1):107-8. doi: 10.1016/s1499-3872(15)60329-0.


Pancreatic fat accumulation has been described with various terms including pancreatic lipomatosis, pancreatic steatosis, fatty replacement, fatty infiltration, fatty pancreas, lipomatous pseudohypertrophy and nonalcoholic fatty pancreas disease. It has been reported to be associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, acute pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and the formation of pancreatic fistula. The real incidence of this condition is still unknown. We report a case of pancreatic steatosis in a non-obese female patient initially diagnosed with a mass in the head of the pancreas. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was carried out to define the characteristics of the pancreatic mass. MRI confirmed the diagnosis of fat pancreas. Enlarged pancreas is not always a cancer, but pancreatic steatosis is characterized by pancreatic enlargement. MRI could give a definite diagnosis of pancreatic steatosis or cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Organ Size
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed