Imaging and Cytopathological Criteria Indicating Malignancy in Mucin-Producing Pancreatic Neoplasms: A Series of 68 Histopathologically Confirmed Cases

Pancreas. 2018 Nov/Dec;47(10):1283-1289. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000001182.


Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the performance of clinical, imaging, and cytopathological criteria in the identification of high-grade dysplasia/carcinoma (HGD/Ca) in pancreatic mucin-producing cystic neoplasms.

Methods: Sixty-eight consecutive, histopathologically confirmed mucin-producing cystic neoplasms, evaluated by endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration, were enrolled; specifically, 39 branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (BD-IPMNs), 21 main duct IPMNs, and 8 mucinous cystic neoplasms. The associations between HGD/Ca in histopathology and findings of endoscopic ultrasound and cytology, demographic, lifestyle, and clinical parameters were evaluated, separately in IPMNs and mucinous cystic neoplasms.

Results: Age 65 years or more was associated with HGD/Ca in IPMNs. In BD-IPMNs, cyst diameter 3 cm or greater (sensitivity, 68.8%; specificity, 65.2%), a mural nodule (sensitivity, 56.3%; specificity, 78.3%), main pancreatic duct diameter 5 to 9 mm (sensitivity, 50.0%; specificity, 87.0%), and suspicious cytology (sensitivity, 81.3%; specificity, 100%) signaled the presence of HGD/Ca. Similarly, in main duct IPMNs, suspicious cytology predicted HGD/Ca with high sensitivity (88.9%) and excellent specificity (100%). Regarding cytopathological criteria, in BD-IPMNs, HGD/Ca was associated with a high nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio, background necrosis, presence of papillary structures, hypochromatic nuclei, hyperchromatic nuclei, and major nuclear membrane irregularities (thickening and/or indentations).

Conclusions: Clinical, imaging, and cytopathological criteria are useful in the identification of HGD/Ca in IPMNs.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology*
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / pathology
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*