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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 147465, 8 pages
Review Article

Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Management of Cystic Lesions of the Pancreas

1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus Medical Center, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Received 2 June 2011; Accepted 25 July 2011

Academic Editor: Jose G. de la Mora-Levy

Copyright © 2012 Koen de Jong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although little is known on the true prevalence of pancreatic cysts, physicians are currently more frequently confronted with pancreatic cysts because of the increasing use of sophisticated cross-sectional abdominal imaging. Cystic lesions of the pancreas comprise of a heterogeneous group of diagnostic entities, some of which are benign such as inflammatory pseudocysts or serous cystadenomas and do not require resection when asymptomatic. Others like mucinous cysts or intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) have a malignant potential and in these cases surgical resection is often indicated. For this reason an adequate distinction between the various cysts is crucial to optimize management strategy. Different diagnostic methods that could be of value in the differentiation include radiologic imaging techniques such as CT, MR, and endosonography. In addition, fluid aspiration for cytopathology, tumormarkers or molecular analysis is widely used. Different guidelines are available but so far no optimal diagnostic algorithm exists. We summarize the epidemiology, classification, clinical presentation, diagnostics, management, and future perspectives.