Cyst fluid NB/70K concentration and leukocyte esterase: Two new markers for differentiating pancreatic serous tumors from pseudocysts

William H. Yong, James F. Southern, Michael R. Pins, Andrew L. Warshaw, Carolyn C. Compton, Kent B. Lewandrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cystic lesions of the pancreas include inflammatory pseudocysts, serous cystadenomas, and mucinous tumors, some of which are malignant. Preoperative clinical and radiological parameters are unreliable and may result in incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment. Cyst fluid analysis for cytology, viscosity, carcino-embryonic antigen, CA 72-4, and CA 15-3 will distinguish mucinous from nonmucinous lesions and usually help in determining malignancy. Currently, there is no reliable method to differentiate inflammatory pseudocysts from serous cystadenomas. This distinction is important because the treatment of these two lesions is different; pseudocysts are either observed or drained, whereas serous tumors are usually resected. The tumor marker NB/ 70K was measured in aspirated cyst fluid from 13 inflammatory pseudocysts and 11 serous cystadenomas by a commercial immunoassay. Leukocyte esterase was measured using Chemstrip SG urine test strips and amylaseand lipase on a routine chemistry analyzer. The cyst fluid NB/70K concentration was significantly higher in pseudocysts (mean, 555 U/ml; range, 42-1,926 U/ml) than in serous cystadenomas (mean, 12 U/ml; range, 0-130 U/ml) and this difference was significant ip < 0.0002). Leukocyte esterase was detected in 7 of 11 pseudocysts but was absent in 10 of 10 serous tumors (p = 0.002). Amylase and lipase values were generally higher in pseudocysts but these markers were unreliable due to marked outliers. Cyst fluid NB/70K and leukocyte esterase are promising markers to help differentiate pseudocysts from serous tumors on percutaneous aspirates. When combined with previously reported cyst fluid parameters (amylase, lipase, cytology, and amylase isoenzymes), these two cystic lesions can be reliably distinguished.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-346
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Cystic fluid NB/70K
  • Leukocyte esterase
  • Pseudocysts
  • Serous tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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