Background Neoplasms of the ampulla of Vater have a better 5-year survival than pancreatic and bile duct neoplasms after resection. This study was performed to analyze the outcome after local resection and pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) and to identify predictive factors for survival. Methods We used a prospective database to evaluate 145 patients (1992-2002) with a neoplasm of the ampulla of Vater. Results The median age of the entire cohort was 66 years. Agreement between preoperative biopsies and definite resection specimen was 58% for invasive adenocarcinoma. Local resection was performed in 25 patients, but the operation was adequate therapy in only 16 patients (64%). Subsequent PD (n=9) was performed in the remaining patients because of an R1 resection. Other patients (n=120) underwent an elective PD. Hospital mortality was 4.0% (1/25) after local resection and 5.0% (6/120) after PD. Multivariate analysis revealed that advanced invasion and nodal status were independent predictive factors for survival. The overall 5-year actuarial survival of patients with adenocarcinoma after PD was 37%. Conclusions Preoperative biopsies have a poor diagnostic accuracy. Local resection is an adequate surgical treatment for adenomas. In experienced hands, PD is the preferred treatment for patients with adenocarcinoma.
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