Background: Pancreatic cysts are being increasingly identified in patients. Mucinous cysts have malignant potential whereas non-mucinous cysts do not. Distinguishing potentially malignant cysts from harmless ones by the characterization of cyst fluid contents remains a difficult problem. This study was undertaken to determine whether cyst fluid mucin glycoprotein analysis could differentiate mucinous from non-mucinous pancreatic cysts. Methods: Cyst fluid from 28 patients who underwent resection of a pancreatic cyst was used for the study. In each case the type of cyst was histologically identified. One dimensional SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (1D-SDS PAGE) was performed on cyst fluid samples. For the detection of the separated proteins, we employed a novel dual staining technique. The gel was first stained with periodic acid Schiff (PAS), a mucin histochemical stain followed by a secondary protein staining with Simply Blue Safestain (Invitrogen). Results: Visual scoring (based on the presence of mucins) gave a sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 100%, a positive predictive value of 100%, and a negative predictive value of 88% for prediction of mucinous histology. Conclusions: One dimensional SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of pancreatic cyst fluid, followed by mucin (PAS) and protein (Simply Blue Safestain) staining, provides a means of concentrating and visualizing mucins, which allows the accurate differentiation of mucinous from non-mucinous histology in pancreatic cysts.
- Pancreatic cancer
- Pancreatic cyst fluid