Cystic tumours of the pancreas: a review.

M. Falconi, C. Bassi, C. Dervenis, R. Bettini, R. Salvia, G. Carbognin, P. Capelli, P. Pederzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The detection of a cystic tumour of the pancreas is a challenge which puts not only the surgeon's knowledge and expertise to the test, but also those of the team of radiologists and pathologists with whom he works. The diagnosis of a suspected pancreatic cystic tumour is morphological and is based on modern imaging techniques and, in the case of intraductal papillary mucinous tumours, on endoscopic findings. In the search for the correct preoperative diagnosis, however, it is of fundamental importance to bear in mind the limitations of the various instrumental investigations, and particularly those of fine-needle aspiration cytology. In this light the main morphological and clinicopathological features of serous cystadenomas, mucinous adenomas and adenocarcinomas, intraductal papillary mucinous tumours and papillary cystic and solid tumours are analysed as well as the surgical indications. In fact only the surgeon, on the basis of his knowledge of the patient's medical history and symptoms, will be in a position to determine to which nosological "cystic" entity the morphological findings described belong. A deeper knowledge of the natural history of each of these cystic tumours will help the surgeon formulate the most appropriate treatment indication. Providing the patient's condition fulfills the necessary operability criteria, resection will be mandatory whenever there exists a doubt that the tumour may be malignant or whenever its natural history suggests a malignant potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-608
Number of pages14
JournalChirurgia Italiana
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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