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Pancreatic Cystic Lesions: New Endoscopic Trends in Diagnosis

Vilas-Boas, Filipe, MD; Macedo, Guilherme, PhD, FACG, FASGE, AGAF

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: January 2018 - Volume 52 - Issue 1 - p 13–19
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000945

The diagnosis of incidental pancreatic cystic lesions is increasing in the general population because of the routine use of cross-sectional imaging modalities. Not all cysts are neoplastic, and the majority of cystic neoplasms have a low overall likelihood of progression to malignancy. Current management is based on imaging and cyst fluid analysis, but we are not able to diagnose the specific type of cyst and its malignant potential in a significant number of patients. Better diagnostic tools are required to avoid unnecessary surgical resections that carry an important risk of morbidity and mortality. Herein we review current evidence concerning the use of new endoscopic modalities for the evaluation of pancreatic cystic lesions. We focus our discussion on the new cyst fluid markers, and the advancements on modalities such as confocal endomicroscopy, contrast-enhanced endoscopic ultrasound, and the use of Spyglass. We also discuss the use of new devices to improve the cellular yield from cyst fluid and to obtain cyst-wall tissue, namely the cytology brush, the fine needle biopsy, and forceps for cyst-wall biopsy.

Department of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, Centro Hospitalar de S. João, Porto, Portugal

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Address correspondence to: Filipe Vilas-Boas, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Centro Hospitalar São João, Alameda Prof. Hernani Monteiro, Porto 4200-319, Portugal (e-mail:

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