Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) of the pancreas represent a relatively "new", but increasingly recognized entity. The emergence of this entity is due primarily to the widespread use of modern imaging methods, but also to a heightened awareness of physicians regarding this cystic neoplasm of the pancreas. No signs or symptoms are pathognomonic of IPMNs, but frequently, patients have a pancreatitis-like abdominal pain. Fully one-third of patients with IPMN are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis. Cross-sectional imaging (ultrasonography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and endoscopic ultrasonography are the diagnostic and staging methods of choice in the evaluation of patients with IPMNs. IPMNs show a wide spectrum of histologic changes, ranging from adenoma to invasive neoplasm, even within the same neoplasm, suggesting a "field defect" predisposing major segments or even the entire ductal epithelium to the development of IPMN. Fine-needle aspiration/cytology and/or analysis of the cystic fluid may be useful diagnostic tools; however, these examinations are associated with high false-negative rates. Complete surgical resection is the therapeutic method of choice. The extent and type of pancreatectomy remain somewhat controversial but should be based on morphologic changes of the pancreas. Even the role of adjuvant therapy remains unclear; however, being "duct-derived" neoplasms of potential malignant character, some form of adjuvant chemo- or ratio-therapy seems indicated in the presence of invasive disease, despite a "curative" resection. In the absence of invasive disease, prognosis after R0 resection is highly favorable with recurrences of 5-10%. However, invasive IPMNs behave quite similar to ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas when analyzed stage-by-stage, with a slightly better prognosis; however, even after an R0 resection, recurrence is common.
- Cystic neoplasms
- Intraductal papillary mucinous tumors
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