Comorbidities Drive the Majority of Overall Mortality in Low-Risk Mucinous Pancreatic Cysts Under Surveillance

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Dec 10;S1542-3565(20)31665-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2020.12.008. Online ahead of print.


Background & aims: The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CACI) has been suggested as a tool to determine comorbidity burden and guide management for patients with mucinous pancreatic cysts (Intrapapillary Mucinous Neoplasms and Mucinous Cystic Neoplasms), but has not been studied well among "low-risk" mucinous pancreatic cysts i.e. without worrisome features (WF) and high-risk stigmata (HRS). This study sought to determine the comorbidity burden among surveillance population of low-risk pancreatic cysts and provide their follow-up mortality outcomes.

Methods: A single center study retrospectively reviewed a prospective pancreatic cyst database and included individuals with low-risk cysts undergoing serial imaging during 2016. Electronic medical records were reviewed to determine their baseline age-adjusted CACI (age-CACI). After 4 years, their progression to WF, disease specific (pancreatic malignancy-related, DSM), extra-pancreatic (EPM), and overall mortalities (OM) were determined using Kaplan-Meir Survival Analysis.

Results: 502 individuals underwent prospective surveillance. The study included 440 individuals with low-risk suspected or presumed mucinous cysts and excluded 50 and 12 individuals with WF and HRS respectively. Over a median follow-up of 56 months, 12 WF progressions, 2 DSMs, 42 EPMs, and 44 OMs were observed. Baseline age-CACI had good predictive capacity for 4-year EPM (Area-Under Curve: 0.87; p< .0001). The median age-CACI of 4 enabled cohort stratification into Low (age-CACI <4) and High CACI (age-CACI ≥4) groups. A significantly higher OM (p< .001) was observed among the High CACI group as compared to the Low CACI group.

Conclusion: Through real-time application of CACI to patient outcomes, our analysis supports incorporation of this comorbidity assessment tool in making shared surveillance decisions among low-risk pancreatic cyst population.

Keywords: Comorbidity; Mortality; Pancreatic Cysts; Surveillance.