Background and Aims: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is essential for the classification of pancreatic cystic lesions (PCLs). Recently, intracystic glucose has been suggested as an alternative to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level as a predictor of mucinous cystic lesions (M-PCLs). This study aims to evaluate the diagnostic performance of intra-cystic glucose in distinguishing between M-PCLs and non M-PCLs (NM-PCLs) and to analyze the possibility of on-site glucose measurement with a standard glucometer.

Methods: Patients with PCLs submitted to EUS-FNA with simultaneous intracystic glucose measurement between 2017 and 2022 were included. The diagnostic performance of glucose versus CEA for the differentiation between M-PCLs and NM-PCLs was compared to a final diagnosis based on the analysis of surgical specimen, intracystic biopsy or, if this data was unavailable, multidisciplinary evaluation. A cut-off of <50 mg/dL was used for the diagnosis of MCLs. Additionally, the agreement between on-site glucose determination with a standard glucometer and laboratory glucose measurement was assessed.

Results: Mucinous lesions accounted for 56% of all PCLs. The median values of glucose and CEA for M-PCLs were 18 mg/dL and 286 ng/mL, respectively. Intracystic glucose had a sensitivity and specificity of 93.2% and 76.5%, respectively, for the diagnosis of MCLs (versus 55.6% and 87.5%, respectively, for CEA). The area under the curve was 0.870 for on-site glucose (versus 0.806 for CEA). An excellent correlation was observed between on-site and laboratory glucose measurement (ρ=0.919).

Conclusions: The measurement of intracystic glucose showed superior performance compared with CEA in distinguishing between M-PCLs and NM-PCLs, with excellent correlation between on-site and conventional lab glucose measurement. Thus, on-site intracystic glucose appears to be an excellent biomarker for the characterization of PCLs due to its low cost, high availability, and the need for a minimal cyst fluid volume for its determination.


pancreatic cystic lesions, glucose, carcinoembryonic antigen, endoscopic ultrasound