Imaging of Pancreatic-Neuroendocrine Tumours: An Outline of Conventional Radiological Techniques

Curr Radiopharm. 2019;12(2):135-155. doi: 10.2174/1874471012666190214165845.


Introduction: Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours (p-NETs) are an important disease entity and comprise of peptide-secreting tumours often with a functional syndrome. Accounting for a small percentage of all pancreatic tumours, they have a good overall survival rate when diagnosed early, with surgery being curative. The role of nuclear medicine in the diagnosis and treatment of these tumours is evident. However, the vast majority of patients will require extensive imaging in the form of conventional radiological techniques. It is important for clinicians to have a fundamental understanding of the p-NET appearances to aid prompt identification and to help direct management through neoplastic staging.

Methods: This article will review the advantages and disadvantages of conventional radiological techniques in the context of p-NETs and highlight features that these tumours exhibit.

Conclusion: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are a unique collection of neoplasms that have markedly disparate clinical features but similar imaging characteristics. Most p-NETs are small and welldefined with homogenous enhancement following contrast administration, although larger and less welldifferentiated tumours can demonstrate areas of necrosis and cystic architecture with heterogeneous enhancement characteristics. Prognosis is generally favourable for these tumours with various treatment options available. However, conventional radiological techniques will remain the foundation for the initial diagnosis and staging of these tumours, and a grasp of these modalities is extremely important for physicians.

Keywords: P-NET; imaging; neuroendocrine tumour; pancreas; pancreatic; radiology; tumour..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Endoscopy
  • Gastrinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glucagonoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Somatostatinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vipoma / diagnostic imaging


  • Contrast Media
  • Radiopharmaceuticals