Cystic neoplasms of the pancreas are being identified at an increasing frequency largely due to the increased use of abdominal cross-sectional imaging. These neoplasms represent a heterogeneous group of tumors with various genetic alterations, molecular features, and risks of malignancy. Despite the use of high-resolution radiographic studies, endoscopic evaluation, cyst fluid analysis, and novel molecular diagnostics, many of these lesions remain difficult to classify without operative resection. These diagnostic challenges are coupled with an improving but limited understanding of the natural history of these neoplasms. Treatment of pancreatic cystic neoplasms therefore remains controversial but consists largely of a selective tumor-specific approach to surgical resection. Future research remains necessary to better discriminate the biological behavior of these tumors in order to more appropriately select patients for operative intervention.


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