Solid pseudopapillary neoplasms (SPN) of the pancreas

Gandhi D, et al. Solid pseudopapillary Tumor of the Pancreas: Radiological and surgical review. Clin Imaging. 2020 Nov;67:101-107.

Full-text for Emory users.


  • Solid Pseudopapillary Neoplasms of the pancreas are rare pancreatic tumors with low grade malignant potential, typically affecting young females.
  • Small SPNs (< 3cm in diameter) usually appear as completely solid tumors with sharp margins and gradually enhancing, well encapsulated masses in the pancreas and may demonstrate varying amounts of hemorrhage.
  • Large lesions have mixed solid – cystic components showing early weak enhancement with gradual increase in enhancement in the hepatic venous phase.
  • Atypical features including extracapsular, as well as parenchymal invasion, simulation of islet cell tumors, calcifications, ductal obstruction, and metastasis are suspicious for malignant degradation.
  • The tumor is considered unresectable in the event that it invades or encases the aorta, encases >180 degree of the SMA regardless of tumor location in the pancreas, abuts the celiac artery (when the tumor is located in the pancreatic head) or encases >180 degree of the celiac artery (when the tumor is located in the body/tail of the pancreas).
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Lobectomy vs total thyroidectomy for intermediate-size papillary thyroid cancer

One discussion last week included the extent of surgery for intermediate-size papillary thyroid cancer: lobectomy vs total thyroidectomy.

Reference: Adam MA, et al. Extent of surgery for papillary thyroid cancer is not associated with survival: an analysis of 61,775 patients. Annals of Surgery. 2014 Oct;260(4):601-605. doi:10.1097/SLA.0000000000000925.

Summary: Guidelines recommend total thyroidectomy for PTC tumors >1 cm, based on older data demonstrating an overall survival advantage for total thyroidectomy over lobectomy.

Adult patients with PTC tumors 1.0-4.0 cm undergoing thyroidectomy in the National Cancer Database between 1998-2006 were included, totaling 61,775 patients. Median follow-up was 82 months (range, 60-179 months).

Lobectomy (n=6849)

Total thyroidectomy (n=54,926)

Nodal disease



Extrathyroidal disease



Multifocual disease



After multivariable adjustment, overall survival was similar in patients undergoing total thyroidectomy versus lobectomy for tumors 1.0-4.0 cm and when stratified by tumor size: 1.0-2.0 cm and 2.1-4.0 cm. Older age, male sex, black race, lower income, tumor size, and presence of nodal or distant metastases were independently associated with compromised survival (P < 0.0001).

Adam et al (2014) conclude that although current guidelines suggest total thyroidectomy for PTC tumors >1 cm, they did not observe a survival advantage associated with total thyroidectomy compared with lobectomy. These findings call into question whether tumor size should be an absolute indication for total thyroidectomy.