Quality assessment of the guidelines on cystic neoplasms of the pancreas

Pancreatology. 2015 Sep-Oct;15(5):463-469. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2015.05.478. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


Background: Though cystic pancreatic neoplasms (CPNs) are being increasingly detected, their evaluation and management are still debated and have lead to publication of multiple guidelines for diagnostic work-up, indications for resection, and non-operative management with follow-up strategies of CPNs.

Aims: To analyze available guidelines in order to evaluate their overall quality and clinical applicability, indications for surgical resection and its extent, modalities and timing of follow-up when non-operative management is indicated.

Methods: After a systematic search of the English literature, we selected eight guidelines for assessment according to the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation in Europe (AGREE) II instrument.

Results: One guideline received the lower AGREE score regarding the "scope and purpose", "rigor of development" and "clarity and presentation" domains, whereas one received the best score for "stakeholder involvement" domain. No differences were found among different guidelines regarding the "applicability". The overall quality assessment score showed that only two guidelines were significantly lower than the others. According to the practical utilization recommendation score, four guidelines were considered as having full applicability in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Existing guidelines provide adequate guidance, at least with the present knowledge, for the management of cystic pancreatic lesions; however, not any one was satisfactory to all aspects related to the management of CPN. An update of the existing guidelines should be considered if and when more evidence-based data are available.

Keywords: ADAPTE method; AGREE instrument; Diagnosis; Follow-up; Mucinous cystic neoplasm; Pancreatic cystic lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care