Neurogenic Tumors in the Abdomen: Tumor Types and Imaging Characteristics
Rha SE, Byun JY, Jung SE, Chun HJ, Lee HG, Lee JM.
There is a broad spectrum of neurogenic tumors that involve the abdomen. These tumors can be classified as those of (a) ganglion cell origin (ganglioneuromas, ganglioneuroblastomas, neuroblastomas), (b) para-ganglionic system origin (pheochromocytomas, paragangliomas), and (c) nerve sheath origin (neurilemmomas, neurofibromas, neurofibro-matosis, malignant nerve sheath tumors). Abdominal neurogenic tumors are most commonly located in the retroperitoneum, especially in the paraspinal areas and adrenal glands. All of these tumors except neuroblastomas and ganglioneuroblastomas are seen in adult patients. Abdominal neurogenic tumor commonly manifests radiologically as a well-defined, smooth or lobulated mass. Calcification may be seen in all types of neurogenic tumors. The diagnosis of abdominal neurogenic tumor is suggested by the imaging appearance of the lesion, including its location, shape, and internal architecture. Benign and malignant neurogenic tumors are difficult to differentiate unless distant meta-static foci are seen. For malignant tumors, imaging modalities other than computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging may be necessary for staging. However, because most neurogenic tumors in adults are benign, CT and MR imaging can be used to develop a differential diagnosis and help determine the immediate local extent of tumor.