Background & Aims: For patients with branch duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (BD-IPMNs, cysts), it is a challenge to identify those at high risk for malignant lesions. We sought to identify factors associated with development of pancreatic cancer, focusing on neoplasm growth rate. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 189 patients with BD-IPMNs who underwent at least 2 contrast-enhanced cross-sectional imaging studies, 1 year or more apart, at a tertiary referral center from January 2003 through 2013. Patients with cysts that had Fukuoka worrisome or high-risk features were excluded. Two radiologists reviewed all images. Cyst size was recorded at the initial and final imaging studies and growth rate was calculated. We collected patient demographic data, cyst characteristics, and clinical outcomes; univariate logistic regression models were used to determine the odds of developing worrisome features. The primary outcomes were to determine growth rate of low-risk BD-IPMNs and to assess whether cyst growth rate correlates high-risk features of IPMNs. Results: Based on image analyses, cysts were initially a median 11 mm (range, 3–31 mm) and their final size was 12.5 mm (range, 3–42 mm). After a median follow-up time of 56 months (range, 12–163 months), the median cyst growth rate was 0.29 mm/year. Twelve patients developed worrisome features, no patients developed high-risk features, 4 patients had surgical resection, and no cancers developed. The rate of BD-IPMN growth was greater in patients who developed worrisome features than those who did not (2.84 mm/year vs 0.23 mm/year; P <.001). The odds of developing worrisome features increased for each unit (mm) increase in cyst size (odds ratio, 1.149; 95% CI, 1.035–1.276, P =.009). Conclusion: In a retrospective analysis of images from patients with BD-IPMN, we found low-risk BD-IPMNs to grow at an extremely low rate (less than 0.3 mm/year). BD-IPMNs in only about 6% of patients developed worrisome features, and none developed high-risk features or invasive cancers. BD-IPMNs that developed worrisome features were associated with a significantly higher rate of growth than lesions with low-risk features. Low risk BD-IPMNs that grow more than 2.5 mm/year might require surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1487
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Biomarker
  • Prognostic Factor
  • Surveillance
  • Tumor


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