Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm of the Pancreas (IPMN) is a potentially malignant neoplasm which produces mucin. It was first described in 1982, and has been described with increasing frequency since.
This article is a review of the litterature available through searches in PubMed in June 2006.
Classical findings in IPMN patients are dilated pancreatic ducts, mural nodules and visible mucin at the Papilla of Vateri at ERCP. Demonstration of a communication between the main Pancreatic duct and the cystic neoplasm can help differentiate IPMN from other cystic neoplasm.
Branch duct IPMN shows a significantly less malignancy potential than does either main duct IPMN or the mixed type.
Compared with ductal adenocarsinoma of Pancreas, IPMN has a favourable prognosis. It is a argue in the literature weather there is a subgroup of IPMN which is better treated with close observation rather than operation, or wheatear all IPMNs should be resected as soon as possible. A lot of researchers have also tried to find out if it is possible to predict malignancy before surgery. Unfortunately, a lot of effort still has to be put down before a very important question can be answered: Will benign IPMN progress to malign IPMN?
Two factors speak in favour of this: Patients with malign IPMN is in average older than people with benign disease, and there is possible to find foci with different degree of differentiation in the same tumour.