Improving diagnostic accuracy and appropriate indications for surgery in pancreatic cystic neoplasms: the role of EUS

      Background and Aims

      Pancreatic cystic neoplasms (PCNs) represent a difficult preoperative diagnosis despite improvements in imaging. In this study, we compared preoperative and final pathologic diagnosis in a large cohort of resected PCNs, evaluating diagnostic accuracy with a specific focus on the value of EUS.


      A retrospective analysis of patients undergoing resection between 2009 and 2019 for presumed PCNs was performed. Preoperative workup was reviewed by analyzing the role of imaging and EUS. Patients with a benign histology who did not show absolute indication were categorized as “delayable surgery.”


      Of 585 patients who were retrospectively analyzed, in 108 (18.5%) final histology did not confirm preoperative diagnosis. EUS was associated with a lower rate of incorrect diagnosis (16%; P = .03), but the risk of overtreatment was similar regardless of instrumental diagnostic path (33/131 vs 68/328, P = .298). Dilatation of the main pancreatic duct and cytologic sampling were the only variables independently associated with a correct diagnosis (P < .001 and P = .041, respectively). Based on clinical presentation and final histology, pancreatic resection could have been spared or delayed in 101 of 459 patients (22%), and this was influenced by age (odds ratio [OR], .97; P = .002), cyst larger than 30 mm (OR, 1.89; P = .005), and type of operation (OR, 3.46 [P < .001] and 3.18 [P = .023] for distal pancreatectomies and other resections, respectively).


      The overall risk of unnecessary immediate surgery for PCNs is about 22% in a high-volume referral center. EUS with cytologic sampling is a useful procedure in the diagnostic management of PCNs, improving their diagnostic accuracy.


      DP (distal pancreatectomy), HR (hazard ratio), HRS (high-risk stigmata), IPMN (intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm), MCN (mucinous cystadenoma), MPD (main pancreatic duct), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PCN (pancreatic cystic neoplasm), PD (pancreatoduodenectomy), SCA (serous cystadenoma), SPN (solid pseudopapillary neoplasm), TP (total pancreatectomy), WF (worrisome feature)
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