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Pancreatic cysts suspected to be branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm without concerning features have low risk for development of pancreatic cancer.



The risk of developing pancreatic cancer is uncertain in patients with clinically suspected branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (BD-IPMN) based on the "high-risk stigmata" or "worrisome features" criteria proposed in the 2012 international consensus guidelines ("Fukuoka criteria").


Retrospective case series involving patients referred for endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) of indeterminate pancreatic cysts with clinical and EUS features consistent with BD-IPMN. Rates of pancreatic cancer occurring at any location in the pancreas were compared between groups of patients with one or more Fukuoka criteria ("Highest-Risk Group", HRG) and those without these criteria ("Lowest-Risk Group", LRG).


After exclusions, 661 patients comprised the final cohort (250 HRG and 411 LRG patients), 62% female with an average age of 67 years and 4 years of follow up. Pancreatic cancer, primarily adenocarcinoma, occurred in 60 patients (59 HRG, 1 LRG). Prevalent cancers diagnosed during EUS, immediate surgery, or first year of follow up were found in 48/661 (7.3%) of cohort and exclusively in HRG (33/77, 42.3%). Using Kaplan-Meier method, the cumulative incidence of cancer at 7 years was 28% in HRG and 1.2% in LRG patients (P<0.001).


This study supports using Fukuoka criteria to stratify the immediate and long-term risks of pancreatic cancer in presumptive BD-IPMN. The risk of pancreatic cancer was highest during the first year and occurred exclusively in those with "high-risk stigmata" or "worrisome features" criteria. After the first year all BD-IPMN continued to have a low but persistent cancer risk.

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