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J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 Feb;14(2):379-87. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-1080-7.

Clinicopathologic analysis of ampullary neoplasms in 450 patients: implications for surgical strategy and long-term prognosis.

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Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Halsted 610, 600 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



Whether ampullary neoplasms are best surgically managed by pancreaticoduodenectomy versus local ampullectomy is controversial. We sought to examine the outcome of patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy versus ampullectomy, as well as to identify factors predictive of lymph node metastasis in patients with ampullary neoplasms.


Between 1970 and 2007, 450 patients who underwent surgical resection of ampullary adenoma or adenocarcinoma were identified from a prospective, single-institution database. Data on clinicopathologic factors, morbidity, mortality, and survival were analyzed.


The initial surgical procedure was pancreaticoduodenectomy in 96.7% patients and ampullectomy in 3.3%. Final diagnosis was invasive adenocarcinoma (77.1%) or adenoma (22.9%). Median tumor size was similar for adenomas associated with an adenocarcinoma (2.5 cm) versus adenomas without invasive cancer (2.9 cm; P=0.71). Morbidity was comparable with pancreaticoduodenectomy (52.2%) versus ampullectomy (33.3%; P=0.15), as was 30-day mortality (pancreaticoduodenectomy, 2.1% versus ampullectomy, 0%; P=0.6). Metastatic disease to regional lymph nodes was present in 54.5% patients with adenocarcinoma. Factors associated with presence of lymph node metastasis included tumor size > or = 1 cm (OR 2.1), poor histologicgrade (OR 4.8), perineural invasion (OR 3.0), microscopic vessel invasion (OR 6.6), and depth of invasion > pT1 (OR 4.3; all P<0.05). Specifically, risk of lymph node metastasis increased with T stage (T1, 28.0%; T2, 50.9%; T3, 71.7%; T4, 77.3%; P<0.001).


When surgery is indicated, radical resection is required for early invasive adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater, as lymph node metastases are present in nearly 30% of patients with T1 disease. Pancreaticoduodenectomy should be the preferred approach for most ampullary neoplasms that require surgical resection.

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