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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003 Jul;181(1):119-23.

Macrocystic serous adenoma of the pancreas: radiologic-pathologic correlation.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St., Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Macrocystic serous adenoma is a rare benign pancreatic neoplasm, recently described in the pathology literature. We describe the CT and MR imaging features in a series of five consecutive pathologically proven cases.


Of seven cases fulfilling the pathology criteria for macrocystic serous adenoma over an 11-year period, five patients underwent preoperative CT and MR imaging at our institution. In addition to the clinical presentation and pathologic features of the tumor, the following CT and MR imaging features were reviewed: size and location; wall thickness; internal septations; and presence of mural nodules, papillary projections, or calcifications.


All patients but one were women (age range, 36-78 years; mean age, 48.6 years). The sizes of the tumors ranged from 1.5 to 5.0 cm (mean, 3.1 cm). Three (60%) of five tumors were located in the pancreatic head. The wall measured less than 2 mm in four lesions and 4 mm in one. No mural nodules, papillary projections, or calcifications were present. Lesions were unilocular (n = 3) or bilocular (n = 2). Excellent correlation of imaging features with gross pathology was observed.


On CT and MR imaging, the macrocystic variant of serous adenoma typically appears as a small (< 5 cm), uni- or bilocular cyst with a thin (< 2 mm) wall that lacks mural nodules or calcifications. The imaging appearance of macrocystic serous adenoma is distinctly different from that of microcystic serous cystadenoma, but the imaging appearance of macrocystic serous adenoma is indistinguishable from mucinous cystadenoma and cystadenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

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