Excellent Accuracy of Glucose Level in Cystic Fluid for Diagnosis of Pancreatic Mucinous Cysts



CEA in pancreatic cystic fluid (PCF) is standard for mucinous cysts diagnosis. Glucose is an alternative, but its accuracy remains poorly described.


To evaluate PCF glucose using a glucometer and compare its accuracy with CEA for mucinous cysts diagnosis.

Materials and Methods

In frozen PCF obtained by EUS-FNA, glucose was evaluated using a glucometer. CEA and cytology were available as standard of care. The accuracy of glucose and CEA was calculated using receiver operator (ROC) curves. Definitive diagnoses were surgical or clinicopathological.


We evaluated 82 patients with a mean age of 61.3 ± 14.8 years (25–91), predominantly (59%) females. Diagnoses included 17 serous cystadenomas, five pseudocysts, 20 intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, three mucinous cystic neoplasms, five adenocarcinomas, four neuroendocrine tumors, two other types, 26 non-defined. The median glucose levels (interquartile range) were 19 mg/dL (19–19) in mucinous and 105 mg/dL (96–127) in non-mucinous cysts (p < 0.0001). The median CEA level was 741 ng/mL (165–28,567) in mucinous and 9 ng/mL (5–19) in non-mucinous cysts (p < 0.0001). For mucinous cyst diagnosis, a CEA > 192 ng/mL had a sensitivity of 72% (95% CI 51–88) and a specificity of 96% (95% CI 82–100), and ROC analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.842 (95% CI 0.726–0.959), while glucose < 50 mg/dL had a sensitivity of 89% (95% CI 72–98), a specificity of 86% (95% CI 67–96), and an AUC of 0.86 (95% CI 0.748–0.973). Pseudocysts presented low glucose, identically to mucinous cysts, with CEA allowing differential diagnosis.


Glucose measured by a glucometer is accurate for mucinous cyst diagnosis, with significantly higher levels in non-mucinous cysts, except pseudocysts.

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Correspondence to Sandra Faias.

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Faias, S., Pereira, L., Roque, R. et al. Excellent Accuracy of Glucose Level in Cystic Fluid for Diagnosis of Pancreatic Mucinous Cysts. Dig Dis Sci 65, 2071–2078 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-019-05936-5

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  • Glucose
  • CEA
  • Pancreatic cyst
  • IPMN
  • MCN