Pancreatic cystic neoplasms: a review of current recommendations for surveillance and management

Justin G. Yoon, Daniel Smith, Vijayanadh Ojili, Raj Mohan Paspulati, Nikhil H. Ramaiya, Sree Harsha Tirumani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Pancreatic cystic neoplasms (PCN) comprise of a diverse array of pancreatic cysts, including intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN), mucinous cystic neoplasms (MCN), serous cystic neoplasms (SCN), cystic neuroendocrine tumors (cNET), and many others. Increasing use of cross-sectional imaging has resulted in greater numbers of PCNs discovered incidentally. The overall risk of malignancy is low, but can vary considerably between different classes of PCNs. Furthermore, many pancreatic cysts are indeterminate on imaging, and the inability to reliably predict the course of disease remains a challenge for radiologists. Due to the variability in disease course and a lack of high-quality studies on PCNs, there is no universal consensus when it comes to balancing optimal surveillance while avoiding the risk for overtreatment. Currently, there are three widely accepted international guidelines outlining guidelines for surveillance and management of PCNs: the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in 2015, the International Association of Pancreatology (IAP) last revised in 2017, and the European Study Group on Cystic Tumours of the Pancreas (European) last revised in 2018. In 2017, the American College of Radiology released its own comprehensive set of recommendations for managing indeterminate pancreatic cysts that are detected incidentally on CT or MRI. The purpose of this paper is to describe the key differences between the ACR recommendations and the aforementioned three sets of guidelines regarding cyst management, imaging surveillance, performance, and cost-effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3946-3962
Number of pages17
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • IPMN
  • Mucinous cystic neoplasm
  • Pancreatic cystic neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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