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Radiographics. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4):1211-38.

Pancreatic tumors in children: radiologic-pathologic correlation.

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Department of Radiologic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Alaska and Fern streets NW, Washington, DC 20306-6000, USA.


Pancreatic neoplasms are rare in children and have a different histologic spectrum and prognosis than those in adults. In general, these tumors are well demarcated with expansile rather than infiltrating growth patterns. They may be quite large at diagnosis, and central cystic necrosis is common. They infrequently cause biliary duct obstruction. The imaging appearance of each neoplasm reflects its pathologic features. Pancreatoblastoma is the most common pancreatic neoplasm in young children. At imaging, pancreatoblastomas are heterogeneous and often multilocular with hyperechoic and enhancing septa. Solid-pseudopapillary tumor occurs in adolescent girls. It is heterogeneous in internal architecture, with a mixture of solid and cystic hemorrhagic and necrotic elements. This tumor is distinguished by its fibrous capsule and hemorrhagic nature, which are best shown at magnetic resonance imaging as a dark rim on T1- or T2-weighted images and hyper-intense foci on T1-weighted images, respectively. Islet cell tumors in children are insulinomas or gastrinomas. These tumors manifest early due to hormonal syndromes and are distinguished by their small size, homogeneous appearance, and intense enhancement with intravenous contrast material. All pancreatic neoplasms in children are capable of producing metastases, usually to the liver and lymph nodes; however, on the whole, these tumors have a better clinical outcome than most pancreatic tumors in adults. Knowledge of the differential diagnosis of pancreatic masses in children and their relatively good prognosis may promote correct preoperative diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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