Background: Solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms of the pancreas (SPNs) are uncommon tumours usually frequent in young women. Although the pathogenesis of SPNs is uncertain a potential influence of the sex hormone milieu on the biology of these tumours has been suggested. The controversial expression of oestrogen receptors (ERs) in SPNs, provide a rationale for studying the effects of oestrogenic molecules on SPN development.Methods: The expression of a large series of hormonal ligands and receptors was evaluated in tissue specimens and in a primary cell culture (SPNC), obtained from a SPN in young female patient. The effects of 17β-oestradiol (17βE2), ICI 182,780 and tamoxifen (Tam) on cell replication and growth were examined.Results: We have established SPNC primary line. Immunocytochemical analysis was positive for vimentin, cyclin D1 and β-catenin and negative for cytokeratin, CD10 and neuroendocrine markers, in line with the immunostaining features of the tumoral tissue. Expression of ERα, ERβ and progesterone mRNAs was demonstrated in SPNC and tumor tissue. A proliferative and antiproliferative action of 17βE2 and Tam respectively were proved in SPNC.Conclusions: In conclusion, we provide the first direct evidence that oestrogenic molecules can influence proliferation of SPNC, offering future strategies in the control of this neoplasia via selective ER modulators.