Role of pancreatoscopy in management of pancreatic disease: A systematic review


Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Aurora St Luke's Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Per-oral pancreatoscopy (POP) plays a role in the diagnosis and therapy of pancreatic diseases. With recent technological advances, there has been renewed interest in this modality.

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of POP in management of pancreatic stone disease and pancreatic ductal neoplasia.

METHODS: To determine the safety and efficacy of POP in the management of pancreatic diseases, a systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE and Ovid. Articles in languages other than English and case reports were excluded. All published case series were eligible. Data specific to POP were extracted from studies, which combined cholangiopancreatoscopy. Ten studies were included in the analysis of POP therapy for pancreatic stone disease, and 15 case series satisfied the criteria for inclusion for the role of POP in the management of pancreatic ductal neoplasia. The examined data were subcategorized according to adjunctive modalities, such as direct tissue sampling, cytology, the role of intraoperative POP, intraductal ultrasound (IDUS) and POP combined with image-enhancing technology.

RESULTS: The success rate for complete ductal stone clearance ranged from 37.5%-100%. Factors associated with failure included the presence of strictures, multiple stones and the inability to visualize the target area. Although direct visualization can identify malignant and premalignant conditions, there is significant overlap with benign diseases. Visually-directed biopsies provide a high degree of accuracy, and represent a unique approach for tissue acquisition in patients with ductal abnormalities. Addition of pancreatic fluid cytology increases diagnostic yield for indeterminate lesions. Protrusions larger than 3 mm noted on IDUS are significantly more likely to be associated with malignancy. The rate of adverse events associated with POP ranged from 0%-35%.

CONCLUSION: Current evidence supports wider adoption of pancreatoscopy, as it is safe and effective. Improved patient selection and utilization of novel technologies may further enhance its role in managing pancreatic disease.

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