Preoperative diagnosis of pancreatic cystic lesions is difficult despite the combination of cytomorphology, radiographic imaging characteristics, and fluid tumor markers such as carcinoembryonic antigen. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) represent a subset of preinvasive pancreatic cystic neoplasms and are associated with accumulated genetic mutations, especially K-ras and tumor suppressor genes such as p53. Application of molecular techniques to cyst fluid obtained by endoscopic ultrasound guided fine-needle aspiration (EUSFNA) may contribute to preoperative assessment.
Sixteen patients with pancreatic cystic lesions had cyst fluid obtained by preoperative pancreatic EUSFNA or intraoperative aspiration. All patients subsequently underwent surgical resection of the pancreas and IPMN was documented in all (6 adenomas, 6 borderline tumors, and 4 carcinomas). DNA was extracted from the cyst fluids and mutational analysis for K-ras point mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis using a preselected panel of genomic loci were performed. LOH was observed in 3 of 4 carcinomas as compared to 4 of 11 adenomas and borderline lesions (1 was QNS). LOH and K-ras mutations were both acquired in 2 of 4 carcinomas and in 1 of 12 adenoma/borderline lesions.
Although the study is small, molecular analysis for LOH and K-ras mutations is useful in the preoperative evaluation of cystic pancreatic lesions. Increasing degree of neoplasia appears to correlate with increased genetic abnormality using a panel of selected genomic markers. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2006;34:605–608. © 2006 Wiley–Liss, Inc.