Pancreatic cyst fluid glucose in differentiating mucinous from nonmucinous pancreatic cysts: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Gastrointest Endosc. 2021 Oct;94(4):698-712.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2021.04.025. Epub 2021 May 6.


Background and aims: Recently, low levels of intracystic glucose acquired with EUS-guided pancreatic cyst fluid sampling have been shown to help to differentiate mucinous from nonmucinous cystic neoplasms. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the diagnostic characteristics of pancreatic cyst fluid glucose compared with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) for pancreatic cystic lesions.

Methods: Individualized searches were developed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines and meta-analysis analyzed according to Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy working group methodology. A bivariate model was used to compute pooled sensitivity and specificity, likelihood ratio, diagnostic odds ratio, and summary receiver operating characteristics curve for intracystic glucose or CEA alone or combination testing.

Results: Eight studies (609 lesions; mean patient age, 63.56 ± 2.75 years; 60.36% women) were included. The pooled sensitivity for pancreatic cyst fluid glucose was significantly higher compared with CEA alone (91% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 88-94; I2 = .00] vs 56% [95% CI, 46-66; I2 = 537.14]; P < .001) with no difference in specificity (86% [95% CI, 81-90; I2 = 24.16] vs 96% [95% CI, 90-99; I2 = 38.06]; P > .05). Diagnostic accuracy was significantly higher for pancreatic cyst fluid glucose versus CEA alone (94% [95% CI, 91-96] vs 85% [95% CI, 82-88]; P < .001). Combination testing with pancreatic cyst fluid glucose and CEA did not improve the diagnostic accuracy compared with glucose alone (97% [95% CI, 95-98] vs 94% [95% CI, 91-96]; P > .05).

Conclusions: Low pancreatic cyst fluid glucose was associated with a high sensitivity and specificity with significantly improved diagnostic accuracy compared with CEA alone for the diagnosis of mucinous versus nonmucinous pancreatic cystic lesions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis
  • Cyst Fluid / chemistry
  • Female
  • Glucose
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Cyst* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Glucose