Diagnostic and radiological management of cystic pancreatic lesions: important features for radiologists

Clin Radiol. 2012 Aug;67(8):727-37. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2012.02.008. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Cystic pancreatic neoplasms are often an incidental finding, the frequency of which is increasing. The understanding of such lesions has increased in recent years, but the numerous types of lesions involved can hinder differential diagnosis. They include, in particular, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN), serous cystic neoplasms (SCN), and mucinous cystic neoplasms (MCN). Knowledge of their histological and radiological structure, as well as distribution in terms of localization, age, and sex, helps to differentiate such tumours from common pancreatic pseudocysts. Several types of cystic pancreatic neoplasms can undergo malignant transformation and, therefore, require differentiated radiological management. This review aims to develop a broader understanding of the pathological and radiological characteristics of cystic pancreatic neoplasms, and provide a guideline for everyday practice based on current concepts in the radiological management of the given lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cystadenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / diagnosis
  • Sex Factors