Objective: Pancreatic cysts are being detected more frequently with advances in abdominal imaging. We designed this study to identify the characteristics of pancreatic cysts upon long-term follow-up and to define the proper management of them.
Methods: We identified 1386 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cysts at our hospital from 1999 to 2010 and analyzed clinicopathologic data including radiological findings.
Results: At initial diagnosis, 515 patients (37.2%) were classified as being at high-risk for malignancy, and 247 patients (17.8%) underwent surgery identifying 128 borderline or malignant cysts (51.8%). Borderline or malignant cysts were associated with older age, male sex, elevated serum level of lipase, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) or carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9), and a dilated pancreatic duct. Long-term follow-up for at least 24 months revealed that most of cystic lesions unchanged in size but malignant transformation was observed in 7 patients.
Conclusions: Most lesions with low or indeterminate risk did not changed in size during follow-up period, but one fifth of high-risk lesions were identified as borderline or malignant after surgery. Surgical resection should be performed in patients with high-risk cysts considering their clinical condition, and radiological follow-up of nonsurgically managed cysts should be continued for more than 6 years.