Pancreatic cysts: Pathologic classification, differential diagnosis, and clinical implications
In contrast to solid tumors, most of which are invasive ductal adenocarcinomas with dismal prognosis, cystic lesions of the pancreas are often either benign or low-grade indolent neoplasia. However, those that are mucinous, namely, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and mucinous cystic neoplasms, constitute an important category because they have well-established malignant potential, representing an adenoma-carcinoma sequence. Those that are nonmucinous such as serous tumors, congenital cysts, lymphoepithelial cysts, and squamoid cyst of pancreatic ducts have no malignant potential. Only rare nonmucinous cystic tumors that occur as a result of degenerative/necrotic changes in otherwise solid neoplasia, such as cystic ductal adenocarcinomas, cystic pancreatic endocrine neoplasia, and solid-pseudopapillary neoplasm, are also malignant and have variable degrees of aggressiveness.