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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Silent Presentation of a Solid Pseudopapillary Neoplasm of the Pancreas

Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care, Rare disease, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Melisa Rivera, Jose A Lara-Del Rio, Lorena Di Pasquale-Guadalupe, Jorge Zequeira

Puerto Rico Department of Radiology, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:656-659

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.902867

Available online:

Published: 2017-06-12


BACKGROUND: Solid pseudopapillary neoplasm (SPN) is a rare tumor frequently found in the head or tail of the pancreas. It mainly presents in young women between the 2nd and 3rd decades of life. A predilection for African Americans and Asians has been observed and is rarely reported in children. Most patients are symptomatic, with abdominal pain as the most common presenting symptom. Clinical laboratory test results are usually normal and pancreatic markers are not typically elevated. Metastatic disease is very uncommon, but most often metastasizes to the liver and regional lymph nodes. Prognosis is usually excellent after surgical resection.
CASE REPORT: We present the case of a 14-year-old Hispanic female who presented to the emergency department after a high-speed motor vehicle accident. She suffered multiple body traumas. Specifically, the patient referred severe epigastric pain. No significant past medical or surgical history was obtained. Laboratory workup was non-contributory. Further evaluation with abdomen and pelvis contrast-enhanced computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a pancreatic tail mass. Distal pancreatectomy followed. Pathologic diagnosis of SPN was established.
CONCLUSIONS: SPN is a rare exocrine tumor with excellent prognosis following resection. Imaging findings are suggestive, but a pathology evaluation is necessary to make the final diagnosis. Differential diagnosis includes entities such as mucinous cystic pancreatic tumor, pancreatic ductal carcinoma, and pancreatic serous cystadenoma. Radiologists play a vital role in the diagnosis, since many times, as in our case, it presents as an incidental finding. A small percentage of SPN neoplasms are associated with metastasis or local recurrence. Therefore, the aim of our case presentation is to review key imaging findings to guide early management and surgical planning.

Keywords: Abdominal Pain, multidetector computed tomography, Pancreatectomy, Pancreatic Neoplasms