Natural course and outcome of cystic lesions in the pancreas

Am J Surg. 2009 May;197(5):619-22; discussion 622-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.12.010.


Background: The number of patients identified with cysts of the pancreas is increasing. The current study was undertaken to assess the natural course and malignant potential of pancreatic cysts.

Methods: From 1995 to 2008, radiology records were reviewed for the presence of cystic lesions of the pancreas (CLP) characteristics, patient demographics, and follow-up.

Results: Eighty-two patients met the study inclusion criteria, with a mean age at time of diagnosis of 64.4 +/- 16.7 years. Mean cyst size was 1.36 +/- 1.05 cm, with 75.6% of patients having a solitary cyst. Thirteen patients underwent surgery. Operative intervention was statistically related to symptomatic, loculated cysts with the presence of calcifications (all P <.05). Malignancy was statistically related to symptomatic (P <.05), loculated cysts (P <.01), and male gender (P <.05).

Conclusions: Our data show that most pancreatic cysts found on radiographic imaging are asymptomatic, solitary, and small and can be followed safely radiographically.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Cyst / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Cyst / pathology
  • Pancreatic Cyst / physiopathology
  • Pancreatic Cyst / surgery
  • Pancreatic Cyst / therapy*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies