Solid Pseudopapillary Tumor of the Pancreas: A Single-center Experience and Review of the Literature

In Vivo. 2017 Jul-Aug;31(4):501-510. doi: 10.21873/invivo.11089.


Background: Solid pseudopapillary tumors (SPTs) of the pancreas are a rare occurrence, not exceeding 1-2% of all exocrine pancreatic tumors. SPT was first described in 1959 as "papillary tumor of the pancreas, benign or malignant" and affects mainly young women, in their second or third decade of age. These tumors are of low malignant potential, unclear pathogenesis, grow gradually and become considerably large before causing symptoms. A typical clinical presentation is often described by affected patients and, in some cases, an SPT is an incidental finding during the time the patient undergoes medical imaging studies for other health issues. SPT is frequently located at the head or tail of the pancreas. Metastases are rare but, when present, affect predominantly the liver.

Patients and methods: We report a series of five SPT cases in female patients 13-47 years old, presenting with almost identical symptoms of upper abdominal discomfort and non-tender palpable mass. Two out of five patients also reported vomiting, nausea and poor appetite as co-existing non-diagnostic symptoms. Only one patient presented without any symptoms. Tumor location and dimensions varied. One patient underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy (Whipple's procedure), while the remaining patients underwent distal pancreatectomy with concomitant splenectomy.

Results: Perioperative morbidity and mortality was zero. All five patients are disease-free at a follow-up from 3 months to 13 years. Histopathology reports supported the diagnosis of SPT and no metastatic disease was present in any of the patients.

Conclusion: The overall prognosis of SPT of the pancreas is excellent due to its favorable biological features, even in the presence of distal metastasis. Although surgical resection is often curative, a close follow-up is advised in order to diagnose a possible local recurrence or distal metastasis and choose the proper therapeutic option for the patients.

Keywords: Solid; neoplasm; pancreas; pseudopapillary; review; tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreas / surgery*
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Prognosis*
  • Young Adult