Ferumoxytol-enhanced MR imaging for differentiating intrapancreatic splenules from other tumors

M. R. Muehler, V. R. Rendell, L. L. Bergmann, E. R. Winslow, S. B. Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Ferumoxytol is an ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) agent that is taken up by splenic tissue. This study describes our initial institutional experience of ferumoxytol-enhanced MRI (feMRI) for differentiating intrapancreatic splenules (IPS) from other pancreatic lesions. Methods: In this retrospective study, patients with computed tomographic imaging that identified small enhancing lesions in the tail of the pancreas subsequently underwent feMRI for further characterization. The feMRI protocol included T2-weighted (T2w) imaging with and without fat suppression (FS), R2* mapping, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and T1-weighted (T1w) imaging with FS, prior to contrast injection. Immediately after slow intravenous infusion with 3 mg/kg body weight ferumoxytol, T1w was repeated. Delayed imaging with all sequences were obtained 24–72 h after ferumoxytol administration. Results: Seven patients underwent feMRI. In two patients, the pancreatic lesions were presumed as pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) from feMRI and in the remaining 5 IPS. One of the two patients with PNET was symptomatic for NET. In another symptomatic patient with pathologically proven duodenal NET and suspected PNET, the pancreatic lesion was proven to be an IPS on feMRI. IPS demonstrated strong negative enhancement in feMRI on T2w and increased R2* values consistent with splenic tissue, while the presumed PNETs did not enhance. T2w FS was helpful on the pre-contrast images to identify IPS, while R2* did on post-contrast images. Neither DWI nor T1w contributed to differentiating PNETs from IPS. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the potential utility of feMRI as a helpful adjunct diagnostic tool for differentiating IPS from other pancreatic lesions. Further studies in larger patient cohorts are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2003-2013
Number of pages11
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ferumoxytol
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Neuroendocrine tumor
  • Pancreas
  • Splenule
  • Ultra-small super paramagnetic iron oxides (USPIO)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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