Background: Cystic lesions of the pancreas are being identified more frequently, and a selective approach to resection is now recommended. The aim of this study was to assess the change in presentation and management of pancreatic cystic lesions evaluated at a single institution over 15 years.
Study design: A prospectively maintained registry of patients evaluated between 1995 and 2010 for the ICD-9 diagnosis of pancreatic cyst was reviewed. The 539 patients managed from 1995 to 2005 were compared with the 885 patients managed from 2005 to 2010.
Results: A total of 1,424 patients were evaluated, including 1,141 with follow-up >6 months. Initial management (within 6 months of first assessment) was operative in 422 patients (37%) and nonoperative in 719 patients (63%). Operative mortality in patients initially submitted to resection was 0.7% (n = 3). Median radiographic follow-up in patients initially managed nonoperatively was 28 months (range 6 to 175 months). Patients followed radiographically were more likely to have cysts that were asymptomatic (72% versus 49%, p < 0.001), smaller (1.5 versus 3 cm, p < 0.001), without solid component (94% versus 68%, p < 0.001), and without main pancreatic duct dilation (88% versus 61%, p < 0.001). Changes prompting subsequent operative treatment occurred in 47 patients (6.5%), with adenocarcinoma identified in 8 (17%) and pancreatic endocrine neoplasm in 4 (8.5%). Thus, of the 719 patients initially managed nonoperatively, invasive malignancy was identified in 12 (1.7%), with adenocarcinoma seen in 1.1%.
Conclusion: Cystic lesions of the pancreas are being identified more frequently, yet are less likely to present with concerning features of malignancy. Carefully selected patients managed nonoperatively had a risk of malignancy that was equivalent to the risk of operative mortality in those patients who initially underwent resection.
Copyright © 2011 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.