To cease or 'de-cyst'? The evaluation and management of pancreatic cystic lesions

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2013 Oct;15(10):348. doi: 10.1007/s11894-013-0348-y.


Due to the widespread use of cross-sectional imaging and advances in imaging technology, pancreatic cystic lesions are increasingly being detected. The diagnosis and management of such cysts remains challenging and continues to evolve. Different pancreatic cyst types have varying malignant potential. Thus, accurate cyst characterization is essential to appropriate management; the most clinically important distinction is differentiating mucinous lesions, which have malignant potential and may benefit from surgical resection, from non-mucinous cystic lesions. Endoscopic ultrasound with fine needle aspiration with cytologic, chemical,, and tumor marker analysis appears to be the best currently available method for accurately characterizing a cyst's malignant potential, and therefore impacts the most important management decision for a pancreatic cyst-continued surveillance or surgical resection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration / methods
  • Endosonography / methods
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Cyst / classification
  • Pancreatic Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Cyst / surgery*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / surgery
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnosis
  • Precancerous Conditions / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor