Lymphoepithelial cyst of pancreas: spectrum of radiological findings with pathologic correlation

Amir A. Borhani*, Kenneth E. Fasanella, Negaur Iranpour, Amer H. Zureikat, Aatur D. Singhi, Alessandro Furlan, Anil K. Dasyam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate imaging features as well as pathologic and clinical findings of lymphoepithelial cyst (LEC) of pancreas. Materials and methods: Ten patients with surgically resected and pathologically proven LEC, found in a single institution database between 2000 and 2015, were evaluated in a retrospective fashion. Patients’ demographics, clinical presentation, co-morbidities, imaging features, cytology and histopathology results, and serum/aspirate biomarkers levels were recorded. Results: Eighty percent of patients were male with median age of 59. All lesions were exophytic, with median size of 36 mm. 80% were classified as complex cystic lesions, showing enhancing septa or enhancing rim without measurable enhancing solid component. 80% were located in tail or body. In one patient with MRI, the lesion was mildly T1 hyperintense and markedly T2 hyperintense. All cases were anechoic or hypoechoic on EUS, and majority of them showed posterior acoustic enhancement. Of patients with available fluid aspirate analysis, 3 out of 4 had CEA level > 192 ng/mL and 1 out of 3 had elevated (>250 IU/ml) amylase level. Four out of 7 patients had elevated serum CA 19-9 levels (>37 U/mL); one patient with a value of 361 U/mL had co-existing pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Conclusion: Round shape, mild complexity, and exophytic location in pancreatic body and tail can be suggestive of LECs. These features however are not specific and may be seen with other cystic pancreatic lesions. CT findings should be used in conjunction with EUS, cytology, and tumor marker studies to secure the diagnosis of LEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-883
Number of pages7
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Benign pancreatic cyst
  • Lymphoepithelial cyst
  • Pancreatic cystic lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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