Added Value of Tomoelastography for Characterization of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Aggressiveness Based on Stiffness

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 15;13(20):5185. doi: 10.3390/cancers13205185.


Purpose: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of tomoelastography in differentiating pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) from healthy pancreatic tissue and to assess the prediction of tumor aggressiveness by correlating PNET stiffness with PET derived asphericity.

Methods: 13 patients with PNET were prospectively compared to 13 age-/sex-matched heathy volunteers (CTR). Multifrequency MR elastography was combined with tomoelastography-postprocessing to provide high-resolution maps of shear wave speed (SWS in m/s). SWS of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET-T) were compared with nontumorous pancreatic tissue in patients with PNET (PNET-NT) and heathy pancreatic tissue (CTR). The diagnostic performance of tomoelastography was evaluated by ROC-AUC analysis. PNET-SWS correlations were calculated with Pearson's r.

Results: SWS was higher in PNET-T (2.02 ± 0.61 m/s) compared to PNET-NT (1.31 ± 0.18 m/s, p < 0.01) and CTR (1.26 ± 0.09 m/s, p < 0.01). An SWS-cutoff of 1.46 m/s distinguished PNET-T from PNET-NT (AUC = 0.89; sensitivity = 0.85; specificity = 0.92) and a cutoff of 1.49 m/s differentiated pancreatic tissue of CTR from PNET-T (AUC = 0.96; sensitivity = 0.92; specificity = 1.00). The SWS of PNET-T was positively correlated with PET derived asphericity (r = 0.81; p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Tomoelastography provides quantitative imaging markers for the detection of PNET and the prediction of greater tumor aggressiveness by increased stiffness.

Keywords: MRE; asphericity; fluidity; magnetic resonance elastography; pancreas; pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor; positron emission tomography; shear wave speed; stiffness; tomo-elastography.