Sporadic insulinomas on volume perfusion CT: dynamic enhancement patterns and timing of optimal tumour-parenchyma contrast

posted by dsct.com | Sep 28, 2017


To assess enhancement patterns of sporadic insulinomas on volume perfusion CT (VPCT), and to identify timing of optimal tumour-parenchyma contrast.


Consecutive patients who underwent VPCT for clinically suspected insulinomas were retrospectively identified. Patients with insulinomas confirmed by surgery were included, and patients with familial syndromes were excluded. Two radiologists evaluated VPCT images in consensus. Tumour-parenchyma contrast at each time point was measured, and timing of optimal contrast was determined. Time duration of hyperenhancement (tumour-parenchyma contrast >20 Hounsfield units, HU) was recorded. Perfusion parameters were evaluated.


Three dynamic enhancement patterns were observed in 63 tumours: persistent hyperenhancement (hyperenhancement time window ≥10 s) in 39 (61.9%), transient hyperenhancement (hyperenhancement <10 s) in 19 (30.2%) and nonhyperenhancement in 5 (7.9%). Timing of optimal contrast was 9 s after abdominal aorta threshold (AAT) of 200 HU, with tumour-parenchyma contrast of 77.6 ± 57.2 HU. At 9 s after AAT, 14 (22.2%) tumours were non-hyperenhancing, nine of which had missed transient hyperenhancement. Insulinomas with transient and persistent hyperenhancement patterns had significantly increased perfusion.


Insulinomas have variable enhancement patterns. Tumour-parenchyma contrast is time-dependent. Optimal timing of enhancement is 9 s after AAT. VPCT enables tumour detection even if the hyperenhancement is transient.

Key points

  • Enhancement patterns of insulinomas are variable and tumour-parenchyma contrast is time-dependent.
  • An optimized single-phase scan found 77.8% tumours to be hyperenhancing.
  • Hyperenhancing tumours increase to 84.1% and 87.3% with biphasic/triphasic scan.
  • Volume perfusion CT enables detection of insulinomas with missed transient hyperenhancement.


Authors: Zhu L, Wu WM, Xue HD, Liu W, Wang X, Sun H, Li P, Zhao YP, Jin ZY.

Full text available at: Eur Radiol. 2017 Jan 20.

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