Hypothesis: After resection of an adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater, certain clinical and pathologic characteristics influence long-term survival. Design: Retrospective case series. Setting: Major academic medical and pancreatic surgical center. Patients: Fifty-five consecutive patients who underwent Whipple resection for ampullary adenocarcinoma from 1988 through 2001. Interventions: Pylorus-preserving Whipple resection in 32 patients and standard Whipple resection in 23 patients. Main Outcome Measures: Postoperative survival. A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the effects of various factors on long-term survival after resection. Results: There were no operative deaths, and all patients left the hospital. After a mean follow-up of 46.9 months, the overall 5-year Kaplan-Meier survival estimate was 67.7%. The median survival of the entire group has not yet been reached. Five-year postoperative survival estimates for node-negative (n=32) and node-positive patients (n=23) were 76.5% and 53.4%, respectively (P=.26). Patients whose tumors demonstrated perineural invasion (n=12) had a 5-year survival estimate of 29.2% vs 78.8% for those whose did not (P<.001). On multivariate analysis, the absence of perineural invasion (P<.001) was an independent predictor of significantly improved postoperative survival. Conclusions: Compared with previous reports from our own and other centers, this series demonstrates improved postoperative survival by 10% to 20% in patients undergoing Whipple resection for adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater. The reasons for this improved outcome are unclear, and the effect of adjuvant treatment cannot be determined from this analysis. The major factor associated with prolonged survival was the absence of perineural invasion in the resected tumor specimen.
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