ACR Appropriateness Criteria(R) Pancreatic Cyst

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type



Diagnosis | Digestive System Diseases | Health Services Administration | Neoplasms | Radiology | Therapeutics


Incidental pancreatic cysts are increasingly detected on imaging studies performed for unrelated indications and may be incompletely characterized on these studies. Adequate morphological characterization is critical due to the small risk of malignant degeneration associated with neoplastic pancreatic cysts, as well as the risk of associated pancreatic adenocarcinoma. For all pancreatic cysts, both size and morphology determine management. Specifically, imaging detection of features, such as pancreatic ductal communication and presence or absence of worrisome features or high-risk stigmata, have important management implications. The recommendations in this publication determine the appropriate initial imaging study to further evaluate a pancreatic cyst that was incidentally detected on a nondedicated imaging study. The recommendations are designed to maximize the yield of diagnostic information in order to better risk-stratify pancreatic cysts and assist in guiding future management. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.


AUC, Appropriate Use Criteria, Appropriateness Criteria, Incidental pancreatic cyst, Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, Neoplastic pancreatic cyst, Pancreatic cyst, Pancreatic cyst associated malignancy

DOI of Published Version



Expert Panel on Gastrointestinal Imaging, Fábrega-Foster K, Kamel IR, Horowitz JM, Arif-Tiwari H, Bashir MR, Chernyak V, Goldstein A, Grajo JR, Hindman NM, Kamaya A, McNamara MM, Porter KK, Scheiman JM, Solnes LB, Srivastava PK, Zaheer A, Carucci LR. ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Pancreatic Cyst. J Am Coll Radiol. 2020 May;17(5S):S198-S206. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2020.01.021. PMID: 32370963. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American College of Radiology : JACR

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID