Pancreatic Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm With Elevated Pre-Operative Cystic Carcinoembryonic Antigen Level: A Histopathologic Correlation

Cameron Beech, Mollie Freedman-Weiss, Ronald Salem, Dhanpat Jain, Xuchen Zhang


Background: To study the relationship between carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) subtype, and the presence of invasive carcinoma.

Methods: Cystic CEA level and the following pathologic variables: subtypes of IPMN, size of cystic lesion, presence of dysplasia or carcinoma, and main or branch duct involvement from 45 IPMN cases were analyzed.

Results: There was a significant correlation between pre-operative cystic fluid CEA level and the intensity of luminal CEA staining. However, there was no correlation between CEA level and cystic mucinous secretions or mucinous epithelial cytoplasm CEA staining, mucin glycoprotein expression, size of lesion, grade of dysplasia or presence of invasive carcinoma. CEA level was neither sensitive nor specific for the presence of invasive carcinoma.

Conclusions: Cystic CEA level may not be a reliable determinant of the presence or absence of invasive carcinoma in IPMNs, and its use to assess risk of malignancy may be limited.

Gastroenterol Res. 2019;12(4):185-190


Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm; Mucin glycoprotein; Pancreas; Carcinoembryonic antigen

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