[Diagnosis of cystadenomas and cystadenocarcinomas of the pancreas. Study of 35 cases]

M Lévy, P Lévy, P Hammel, M Zins, V Vilgrain, G Amouyal, P Amouyal, G Molas, J F Flejou, H Voitot
Gastroentérologie Clinique et Biologique 1995, 19 (2): 189-96

OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to assess the circumstances of diagnosis and accuracy of imaging procedures in patients with cystic pancreatic tumours.

METHODS: Thirty-five consecutive patients with cystic pancreatic tumours (serous cystadenomas: n = 19, mucinous cystadenomas: n = 9, cystadenocarcinomas: n = 7) were studied from 1988 to 1993. Respective diagnostic values of ultrasonography, endoscopic ultrasonography, CT scan and analysis of cyst fluid were evaluated.

RESULTS: The circumstances of diagnosis were abdominal pain (74%), weight loss (23%), jaundice (8%), abdominal mass (6%), asymptomatic (6%). Initial diagnosis of cystadenoma was correctly made by ultrasonography, CT scan and endoscopic ultrasonography in 63%, 77% and 84%, and the type of cystadenoma was correctly diagnosed in 20%, 51% and 55%. A pseudocyst was falsely diagnosed in 28%, 12% and 3%, respectively. After blind review of CT scans and endoscopic ultrasonography records, the type of cystadenoma was correctly diagnosed in 82% by both procedures. Cytological examination of cyst fluid of 18 cystic tumours gave correct diagnosis in 10 cases with sufficient material. A low CEA (P < 0.002), Ca 19.9 (P < 0.003) and absence of mucins (P < 0.002) in cyst fluid was evocative of serous cystadenoma.

CONCLUSIONS: Abdominal pain was the main circumstance of diagnosis in cases of pancreatic cystadenomas. The type of cystadenoma was correctly diagnosed in 82% by CT scan and endoscopic ultrasonography. Cytological examination, tumoural marker and mucin levels in cyst fluid were helpful for an accurate diagnosis of cystic tumours.

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