Presentation and management of cystic neoplasms of the pancreas

L Hashimoto, R M Walsh, D Vogt, J M Henderson, J Mayes, R Hermann
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 1998, 2 (6): 504-8
Pancreatic cystic neoplasms are uncommon, but it is important to differentiate them from pseudocysts and ductal adenocarcinoma. A retrospective review was performed to determine distinguishing characteristics and optimal treatment. In 51 patients operated on between 1981 and 1994 at a referral center, the following cystic neoplasms were found: 20 serous cystadenomas, 10 mucinous cystadenomas, 11 mucinous cystadenocarcinomas, five cases of mucinous ductal ectasia, and five papillary cystic neoplasms. Both mucinous ductal ectasia and papillary cystic neoplasms had distinguishing features when compared to other cystic neoplasms. Mucinous ductal ectasia was seen only in men, presented with typical symptoms, and had distinctive features on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. Papillary cystic neoplasms occurred in young women (mean age 31 years) and were larger (mean 10.3 cm). Mucinous tumors were always symptomatic, whereas 55% of serous tumors were asymptomatic (P <0.001). The overall rate of resectability was 80%, and there was one operative death (2%). Intraoperative biopsy was diagnostic in 18 (78%) of 23 cases. An actuarial 5-year survival of 52% was found for resected mucinous cystadenocarcinomas. In conclusion, papillary cystic neoplasms and mucinous ductal ectasia have distinct characteristics that differentiate them from other types of pancreatic cystic tumors. Serous cystadenoma should be considered in asymptomatic patients and these patients should be closely observed. Symptomatic neoplasms should be resected with long-term survival expected for malignant forms. (J Gastrointest Surg 1998;2:504-508.)

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