Centre de référence
des maladies rares
du pancréas

Pancreatic cysts

  • Serous Cystadenoma

    What is serous cystadenoma ?

    A benign, cystic, multilocular tumour of the pancreas.

    How is it diagnosed?

    It may be discovered by chance or in case of non-specific abdominal pains, on an MRI or scan of the pancreas. This lesion most often affects women ages 60-70.

    Pancreatic imaging is used in most cases to make a diagnosis (CT scan; MRI): single tumour, with no communication with the pancreatic ducts. It is composed of multiple cysts with a honeycomb appearance +/- central calcification. In 10% of cases, there is a macrocyst form.

    An endoscopic ultrasound completes the exam, in case of doubt after CT scan and MRI. It is possible to puncture the cyst for analysis: tumour markers (CEA and CA 19.9) are low, such as lipase.

    How is it treated ?

    It is a benign lesion that requires no treatment or follow-up in the absence of symptoms. Complications involving compression of the hepatic ducts are rare.

  • Mucinous Cystadenoma

    What is mucinous cystadenoma?

    A pre-cancerous pancreatic cystic neoplasm with an epithelial coating that secretes mucin and an ovarian-type stroma.

    How is it diagnosed?

    Most frequently found in women (sex ratio: 9/1) in their 40s or 50s.

    The lesion is often discovered when exploring the causes of poorly systematised abdominal pains (discovery by chance).

    The diagnosis is often established based on imaging data (CT scan and MRI): single, macrocystic lesion with thick walls found in the body or tail of the pancreas, without communication with the pancreatic ducts.

    In case of doubt, puncture of the cyst may be done during an endoscopic ultrasound. In this case, tumour markers (CEA and CA 19.9) are high.

    How is it treated?

    Surgery is recommended when the cysts are larger than 4 cm or in case of troubling signs (parietal nodules or thick walls).

    In older patients or those with co-morbidities, if there are no parietal nodules, lesions of less than 4 cm may be closely monitored.

    Source: Reference Centre for Rare Pancreatic Diseases and Disorders

    Relevant reference centre: PaRaDis