Benefit of Extended Surveillance of Low-Risk Pancreatic Cysts After 5-Year Stability: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 May 11;S1542-3565(22)00450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.04.025. Online ahead of print.


Background & aims: Low-risk branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (BD-IPMNs) lacking worrisome features (WF) and high-risk stigmata (HRS) warrant surveillance. However, their optimal duration, especially among cysts with initial 5 years of size stability, warrants further investigation. We systematically reviewed the surveillance of low-risk BD-IPMNs and investigated the incidence of WF/HRS and advanced neoplasia, high-grade dysplasia, and pancreatic cancer during the initial (<5 years) and extended surveillance period (>5-years).

Methods: A systematic search (CRD42020117120) identified studies investigating long-term IPMN surveillance outcomes of low-risk IPMN among the Cochrane Library, Embase, Google Scholar, Ovid Medline, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science, from inception until July 9, 2021. The outcomes included the incidence of WF/HRS and advanced neoplasia, disease-specific mortality, and surveillance-related harm (expressed as percentage per patient-years). The meta-analysis relied on time-to-event plots and used a random-effects model.

Results: Forty-one eligible studies underwent systematic review, and 18 studies were meta-analyzed. The pooled incidence of WF/HRS among low-risk BD-IPMNs during initial and extended surveillance was 2.2% (95% CI, 1.0%-3.7%) and 2.9% (95% CI, 1.0%-5.7%) patient-years, respectively, whereas the incidence of advanced neoplasia was 0.6% (95% CI, 0.2%-1.00%) and 1.0% (95% CI, 0.6%-1.5%) patient-years, respectively. The pooled incidence of disease-specific mortality during initial and extended surveillance was 0.3% (95% CI, 0.1%-0.6%) and 0.6% (95% CI, 0.0%-1.6%) patient-years, respectively. Among BD-IPMNs with initial size stability, extended surveillance had a WF/HRS and advanced neoplasia incidence of 1.9% (95% CI, 1.2%-2.8%) and 0.2% (95% CI, 0.1%-0.5%) patient-years, respectively.

Conclusions: A lower incidence of advanced neoplasia during extended surveillance among low-risk, stable-sized BD-IPMNs was a key finding of this study. However, the survival benefit of surveillance among this population warrants further exploration through high-quality studies before recommending surveillance cessation with certainty.

Keywords: Meta-Analysis; Pancreatic Cysts; Surveillance.

Publication types

  • Review