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Pancreatic cyst prevalence and the risk of mucin-producing adenocarcinoma

The latest issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology examines pancreatic cyst prevalence and the risk of mucin-producing adenocarcinoma in US adults.

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The presence of a pancreatic cyst often prompts concern, although the rate of malignant transformation to mucin-producing adenocarcinoma is not known.

Dr Timothy Gardner and colleagues from New Hampshire, USA determined the prevalence rate of mucin-producing adenocarcinoma in US adults with pancreatic cysts.

The research team performed a retrospective, population-based cross-sectional study, and calculated the annual number of mucin-producing adenocarcinomas using the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER 18) database and the 2010 US census.

The overall prevalence rate of cysts in the population was found using data from large cross-sectional imaging studies of incidental cyst prevalence.

Prevalence rate of mucin-producing adenocarcinoma in patients with pancreatic cysts was 33 per 100,000
American Journal of Gastroenterology

Prevalence rates were then calculated by dividing the annual number of mucin-producing adenocarcinomas by the cyst prevalence rate.

Between 2005 and 2009, 1,137 mucin-producing adenocarcinomas were estimated to be found annually in a US adult population of 137,154,960.

The team noted that total number of pancreas cysts, given a cyst prevalence rate of 2.5%, was 3,428,874.

Therefore, the prevalence rate of mucin-producing adenocarcinoma arising in patients with pancreatic cysts was 33 per 100,000.

The researchers found that the prevalence rate was 33 per 100,000 in women, and 34 per 100,000 in men.

The research team observed that the rate of malignant transformation increased linearly with advancing age.

Dr Gardner's team concludes, "Malignant transformation of pancreatic cysts into mucin-producing adenocarcinoma in US adults is a very rare event."

"Current clinical guidelines and resource allocation for pancreatic cyst disease should be reconsidered given these findings."

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108: 1546–1550
11 October 2013

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