OBJECTIVE: To evaluate mid-term outcomes and predictors of survival in non-operated patients with pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) with worrisome features or high-risk stigmata as defined by International Consensus Guidelines for IPMN. Reasons for non-surgical options were physicians' recommendation, patient personal choice or comorbidities precluding surgery.
METHODS: In this retrospective, multicentre analysis, IPMNs were classified as branch duct (BD) and main duct (MD), the latter including mixed IPMNs. Univariate and multivariate analysis for overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) were obtained.
RESULTS: Of 281 patients identified, 159 (57%) had BD-IPMNs and 122 (43%) had MD-IPMNs; 50 (18%) had high-risk stigmata and 231 (82%) had worrisome features. Median follow-up was 51 months. The 5-year OS and DSS for the entire cohort were 81% and 89.9%. An invasive pancreatic malignancy developed in 34 patients (12%); 31 had invasive IPMNs (11%) and 3 had IPMN-distinct pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (1%). Independent predictors of poor DSS in the entire cohort were age >70 years, atypical/malignant cyst fluid cytology, jaundice and MD >15 mm. Compared with MD-IPMNs, BD-IPMNs had significantly better 5-year OS (86% vs 74.1%, p=0.002) and DSS (97% vs 81.2%, p<0.0001). Patients with worrisome features had better 5-year DSS compared with those with high-risk stigmata (96.2% vs 60.2%, p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: In elderly patients with IPMNs that have worrisome features, the 5-year DSS is 96%, suggesting that conservative management is appropriate. By contrast, presence of high-risk stigmata is associated with a 40% risk of IPMN-related death, reinforcing that surgical resection should be offered to fit patients.