Accurate tests to diagnose adenocarcinoma and high-grade dysplasia among mucinous pancreatic cysts are clinically needed. This study evaluated the diagnostic utility of amphiregulin (AREG) as a pancreatic cyst fluid biomarker to differentiate non-mucinous, benign mucinous, and malignant mucinous cysts.
A single-center retrospective study to evaluate AREG levels in pancreatic cyst fluid by ELISA from 33 patients with a histological gold standard was performed.
Among the cyst fluid samples, the median (IQR) AREG levels for non-mucinous (n = 6), benign mucinous (n = 15), and cancerous cysts (n = 15) were 85 pg/ml (47-168), 63 pg/ml (30-847), and 986 pg/ml (417-3160), respectively. A significant difference between benign mucinous and malignant mucinous cysts was observed (p = 0.025). AREG levels greater than 300 pg/ml possessed a diagnostic accuracy for cancer or high-grade dysplasia of 78% (sensitivity 83%, specificity 73%).
Cyst fluid AREG levels are significantly higher in cancerous and high-grade dysplastic cysts compared to benign mucinous cysts. Thus AREG exhibits potential clinical utility in the evaluation of pancreatic cysts.