Background: Prognostic indicators of the malignant potential of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET) are limited. We assessed tumor shape and enhancement pattern on contrast-enhanced computed tomography as predictors of malignant potential. Methods: Sixty cases of PNET patients undergoing curative surgery from 2001 to 2014 were enrolled onto our retrospective study. Preoperative enhanced CTs were assessed, and criteria defined for regularly shaped and enhancing tumors (group 1), and irregularly shaped and/or enhancing tumors (group 2). The relation of tumor shape and enhancement pattern to outcome was assessed. Results: Interobserver agreement was substantial (kappa = 0.74). Group 2 (n = 24) was significantly correlated with synchronous liver metastasis (23 vs. 0 %), lymph node metastasis (36 vs. 3 %), pathologic capsular invasion (68 vs. 8 %), larger tumor size (30 vs. 12 mm), tumor, node, metastasis classification system (TNM) stage III/IV disease (46 vs. 3 %), and histologic grade 2/3 (41 vs. 0 %). Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor grade 2/3 and group 2 criteria correlated with tumor relapse (hazard ratio 6.5 and 13.6, P = 0.0071 and 0.039, respectively), and that only group 2 criteria were independently correlated with poor overall survival (hazard ratio 5.56e + 9, P = 0.0041). Conclusions: Irregular tumor shape/enhancement on preoperative computed tomography is a negative prognostic factor after curative surgery for PNET.
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