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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct;45(9):755-8. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31821b1081.

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm and acute pancreatitis.

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Digestive Disease Institute, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) are cystic pancreatic tumors that arise from the pancreatic ducts and are increasingly reported worldwide. Both benign and malignant tumors of the pancreas are thought to contribute to recurrent pancreatitis possibly by pancreatic duct obstruction, and IPMNs contribute to a major share of this burden. The rate of acute pancreatitis (AP) in IPMN patients in the largest published surgical series has varied from 12% to 67%. IPMN may be categorized into 3 forms on the basis of the areas of involvement: main pancreatic duct (MD-IPMN), side branch (SB-IPMN), or combined. Both MD-IPMN and SB-IPMN may be the cause of pancreatitis. The risk of AP seems to be similar with both main duct IPMN and SB-IPMN, although data are controversial. AP in IPMN patients is not severe and often recurs without treatment. The rate of AP does not seem to differ among benign and malignant IPMNs, and the correlation between the malignant potential and the occurrence of AP is ill defined. AP seems to occur more often in patients with IPMN that in those with usual pancreatic adenocarcinoma possibly because of obstruction of the main duct by thick, abundant mucus secretion. Although the Sendai guidelines recommend surgical resection in patients with SB-IPMN with AP, data are controversial. Moreover, in patients with an episode of pancreatitis, the finding of pancreatic cysts is often attributed to pseudocysts or fluid collections that make the diagnosis of IPMN less suspicious. Future longitudinal and prospective studies to understand the natural history of AP in patients with IPMN are required to better manage patients with recurrent AP in the setting of IPMN.

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