Low progression of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms with worrisome features and high-risk stigmata undergoing non-operative management: a mid-term follow-up analysis

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To evaluate mid-term outcomes and predictors of survival in non-operated patients with pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) with worrisome features or high-risk stigmata as defined by International Consensus Guidelines for IPMN. Reasons for non-surgical options were physicians' recommendation, patient personal choice or comorbidities precluding surgery.


In this retrospective, multicentre analysis, IPMNs were classified as branch duct (BD) and main duct (MD), the latter including mixed IPMNs. Univariate and multivariate analysis for overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) were obtained.


Of 281 patients identified, 159 (57%) had BD-IPMNs and 122 (43%) had MD-IPMNs; 50 (18%) had high-risk stigmata and 231 (82%) had worrisome features. Median follow-up was 51□months. The 5-year OS and DSS for the entire cohort were 81% and 89.9%. An invasive pancreatic malignancy developed in 34 patients (12%); 31 had invasive IPMNs (11%) and 3 had IPMN-distinct pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (1%). Independent predictors of poor DSS in the entire cohort were age >70□years, atypical/malignant cyst fluid cytology, jaundice and MD >15□mm. Compared with MD-IPMNs, BD-IPMNs had significantly better 5-year OS (86% vs 74.1%, p=0.002) and DSS (97% vs 81.2%, p<0.0001). Patients with worrisome features had better 5-year DSS compared with those with high-risk stigmata (96.2% vs 60.2%, p<0.0001).


In elderly patients with IPMNs that have worrisome features, the 5-year DSS is 96%, suggesting that conservative management is appropriate. By contrast, presence of high-risk stigmata is associated with a 40% risk of IPMN-related death, reinforcing that surgical resection should be offered to fit patients.

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