Mucinous cystic tumors of the pancreas: clinicopathological features, prognosis, and relationship to other mucinous cystic tumors

Am J Surg Pathol. 1999 Apr;23(4):410-22. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199904000-00005.


The clinicopathological features of 56 patients with mucinous cystic tumors (MCTs) of the pancreas were studied. Particular attention was paid to the prognosis of MCTs and the relationship to their ovarian, hepatic, and retroperitoneal counterparts. To distinguish MCTs from pancreatic intraductal papillary-mucinous tumors, MCTs were defined as tumors lacking communication with the duct system and containing mucin-producing epithelium, usually supported by ovarian-like stroma. All 56 tumors occurred in women (mean age 48.2 years) and were preferentially (93%) located in the body and tail of the pancreas. In accordance with the WHO classification, MCTs were divided into adenomas (n = 22), borderline tumors (n= 12), and noninvasive and invasive carcinomas (n = 22). Survival analysis revealed the extent of invasion to be the most significant prognostic factor (p<0.0001). Malignancy correlated with multilocularity and presence of papillary projections or mural nodules, loss of ovarian-like stroma, and p53 immunoreactivity. Stromal luteinization with expression of tyrosine hydroxylase, calretinin, or alpha inhibin was found in 66% of the cases. We conclude that the biologic behavior of MCTs is predictable on the basis of the extent of invasion. The similarities (i.e. gender, morphology, stromal luteinization) between pancreatic MCT and its ovarian, hepatobiliary, and retroperitoneal counterparts suggest a common pathway for their development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / chemistry
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / mortality
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / pathology
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor