Author(s): Nishino M, Hayakawa K, Minami M, Yamamoto A, Ueda H,
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Abstract Primary retroperitoneal neoplasms are a rare but diverse group of benign and malignant tumors that arise within the retroperitoneal space but outside the major organs in this space. Although computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging can demonstrate important characteristics of these tumors, diagnosis is often challenging for radiologists. Diagnostic challenges include precise localization of the lesion, determination of the extent of invasion, and characterization of the specific pathologic type. The first step is to determine whether the tumor is located within the retroperitoneal space. Displacement of normal anatomic structures of the retroperitoneum is helpful in this regard. For tumors that are located within the retroperitoneum, the next step is to identify the organ of origin. Specific signs, including the "beak sign," the "embedded organ sign," and the "phantom (invisible) organ sign," are useful for this purpose. When there is no definite sign that suggests the organ of origin, the diagnosis of a primary retroperitoneal tumor becomes likely. Awareness of specific patterns of spread, specific tumor components, and tumor vascularity help in further narrowing the differential diagnosis. Attention to these diagnostic clues is essential in making an accurate radiologic diagnosis of primary retroperitoneal tumors and in obtaining clinically significant information. Copyright RSNA, 2003.
This article was published in Radiographics
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy