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October 1995

Cystic Neoplasms of the PancreasA Clinicopathologic Study, Including DNA Flow Cytometry

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Brenin, Talamonti, Yang, Sener, Joehl, and Nahrwold) and Pathology (Dr Haines), Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(10):1048-1054. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430100026006

Objective:  To review the classification, clinical behavior, and appropriate therapy for cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. We examined patient demographics, clinical parameters, preoperative imaging modalities, histologic findings, and tumor DNA content to determine which best predict outcome.

Design:  Case series and survey of pathologic specimens.

Setting:  Tertiary care center.

Patients:  Twenty-two patients with cystic neoplasms of the pancreas treated at affiliates of Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill.

Main Outcome Measures:  Predictive value of preoperative testing, tumor DNA content, patient survival.

Results:  In 20 patients undergoing computed tomographic scan, the tumor was visualized in every case. All other imaging studies evaluated were less likely to demonstrate the lesion. Eight of 10 patients with serous cystadenomas were alive with no evidence of disease at the time of this report; one patient was alive with local recurrence, and a second patient had died of unrelated causes. All patients with mucinous cystadenomas were alive with no evidence of disease. Three of seven patients with cystadenocarcinomas had aneuploid, high S-phase tumors, and one had a diploid, high S-phase tumor; all four died (mean survival, 4.8 months). Two patients with cystadenocarcinomas had diploid, low S-phase tumors; both were long-term survivors but died of their disease at 8.6 and 9.3 years.

Conclusions:  (1) Computed tomographic scan is the most valuable diagnostic imaging study for preoperative evaluation of these patients. (2) Precise preoperative determination of tumor type is not possible. (3) DNA flow cytometry may help identify patients with aggressive tumors who may benefit from adjuvant chemoradiation.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:1048-1054)