Cystic pancreatic tumors (CPTs) have more frequently been identified in the last decade because of increased use of cross-sectional abdominal imaging. Although serous CPTs follow an indolent course and do not necessarily require surgical resection or long-term follow-up, mucinous CPTs (mucinous cystic neoplasms and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms) have a greater risk for malignancy. Although most CPTs are initially detected with imaging modalities such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, these tests alone rarely permit an accurate clinical diagnosis. Endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound-guided, fine-needle aspiration allow real-time examination and biopsy analysis of CPTs, which increases diagnostic accuracy because cytopathology features and tumor markers in cyst fluid can be analyzed. Management of patients with mucinous CPTs by surgery or imaging surveillance is controversial, partially because of limited information about disease progression and the complexities of surgical resection. We review approaches to diagnosis and management of common CPTs.
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