Cystic lesions of the pancreas (differential)

Last revised by Arlene Campos on 7 May 2024

The differential for cystic lesions of the pancreas includes:

Retroperitoneal lesions (extrinsic to the pancreas) can mimic pancreatic cystic lesions, when close to the gland. Examples include:

Practical points

  • the American College of Radiology (ACR) published guidelines on managing incidental cystic pancreatic lesions in 2017 11

  • (c.2022) evidence reports that the incidence of pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic patients with cysts <2 cm is similar to background rates 14

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