Association Between Advances in High-Resolution Cross-Section Imaging Technologies and Increase in Prevalence of Pancreatic Cysts From 2005 to 2014

Maria Moris, Mellena D. Bridges, Robert A. Pooley, Massimo Raimondo, Timothy A. Woodward, John A. Stauffer, Horacio J. Asbun, Michael B. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Increasingly, pancreatic cysts are discovered incidentally in patients undergoing cross-sectional imaging for nonpancreatic reasons. It is unclear whether this increase is caused by improved detection by progressively more sophisticated cross-sectional imaging techniques or by a true increase in prevalence. We aimed to determine the prevalence of incidental pancreatic cysts in patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for nonpancreatic indications on successive, increasingly sophisticated MRI systems. Also, we compared prevalence based on the demographic characteristics of the patients. Methods: We collected data from MRIs performed at the Mayo Clinic in Florida during the sample months of January and February, from 2005 to 2014. Each patient's clinical chart was reviewed in chronological order to include the first 50 MRIs of each year (500 total). Patients were excluded if they had pancreatic disease including cysts, pancreatic surgery, pancreatic symptoms, pancreatic indication for the imaging study, or previous abdominal MRIs. An expert pancreatic MRI radiologist reviewed each image, looking for incidental pancreatic cysts. Results: Of the 500 patients analyzed, 208 patients (41.6%) were found to have an incidental cyst. A significant relationship was observed between pancreatic cysts and patient age (P < .0001), diabetes mellitus (P = .001), and nonpancreatic cancer (P = .01), specifically nonmelanoma skin cancer (P = .03) or hepatocellular carcinoma (P = .02). The multivariable model showed a strong association between hardware and software versions and detection of cysts (P < .0001); the old hardware detected pancreatic cysts in 30.3% of patients, whereas the newest hardware detected cysts in 56.3% of patients. Conclusions: Based on an analysis of data collected from 2005 through 2014, newer versions of MRI hardware and software corresponded with higher numbers of pancreatic cysts detected. Older age, diabetes, and the presence of nonpancreatic cancer (specifically nonmelanoma skin cancer and hepatocarcinoma) were also associated with the presence of cysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-593.e3
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cystic Neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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