Pancreatic cysts are being detected more frequently with advances in abdominal imaging. We designed this study to identify the characteristics of pancreatic cysts upon long-term follow-up and to define the proper management of them.Methods
We identified 1386 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cysts at our hospital from 1999 to 2010 and analyzed clinicopathologic data including radiological findings.Results
At initial diagnosis, 515 patients (37.2%) were classified as being at high-risk for malignancy, and 247 patients (17.8%) underwent surgery identifying 128 borderline or malignant cysts (51.8%). Borderline or malignant cysts were associated with older age, male sex, elevated serum level of lipase, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) or carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9), and a dilated pancreatic duct. Long-term follow-up for at least 24 months revealed that most of cystic lesions unchanged in size but malignant transformation was observed in 7 patients.Conclusions
Most lesions with low or indeterminate risk did not changed in size during follow-up period, but one fifth of high-risk lesions were identified as borderline or malignant after surgery. Surgical resection should be performed in patients with high-risk cysts considering their clinical condition, and radiological follow-up of nonsurgically managed cysts should be continued for more than 6 years.