The aim of this study was to assess the imaging findings of pathologically proven intraductal papillary-mucinous tumors of the pancreas and the natural history of follow-up cases, and to optimize the therapeutic management of patients with these tumors according to their imaging findings. All nine patients with main duct type tumors were histologically diagnosed as having adenocarcinoma or adenoma, with no hyperplastic lesion. The images failed to discriminate between the two histologic types. In 26 patients with branch duct type tumors, all but one with intraductal mural nodules or tumors of > or = 30 mm had adenocarcinoma or adenoma, regardless of the caliber of the main duct. Of the nine patients with tumors < 30 mm and no mural nodules. three had adenoma, and six had hyperplasia. All of four patients had hyperplasia, with the additional caliber of the main duct being < 6 mm. In a series of 23 cases in which the patient was followed-up, no apparent progression was found in 17 patients who had no mural nodules and tumors of < 30 mm. Given these results, patients with main duct type tumors, and those with branch duct type tumors showing mural nodules or a tumor diameter of > or = 30 mm, are at high risk of developing neoplasms, including adenocarcinoma, for which surgical resection should be considered, whereas those patients with tumors < 30 mm and no mural nodules can be followed.