Intraductal papillary neoplasm of the bile duct (IPNB) is a variant of bile duct carcinoma characterized by intraductal growth and better outcome compared with the more common nodular-sclerosing type. IPNB is a recognized precursor of invasive carcinoma, but its pathogenesis and natural history are ill-defined. This study examines the clinicopathologic features and outcomes of IPNB. A consecutive cohort of patients with bile duct cancer (hilar, intrahepatic, or distal) was reviewed, and those with papillary histologic features identified. Histopathologic findings and immunohistochemical staining for tumor markers and for cytokeratin and mucin proteins were used to classify IPNB into subtypes. Survival data were analyzed and correlated with clinical and pathologic parameters. Thirty-nine IPNBs were identified in hilar (23/144), intrahepatic (4/86), and distal (12/113) bile duct specimens between 1991 and 2010. Histopathologic examination revealed 27 pancreatobiliary, four gastric, two intestinal, and six oncocytic subtypes; results of cytokeratin and mucin staining were similar to those of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) of the pancreas. Invasive carcinoma was seen in 29/39 (74%) IPNBs. Overall median survival was 62 months and was not different between IPNB locations or subtypes. Factors associated with a worse median survival included presence and depth of tumor invasion, margin-positive resection, and expression of MUC1 and CEA. Conclusion: IPNBs are an uncommon variant of bile duct cancer, representing approximately 10% of all resectable cases. They occur throughout the biliary tract, share some histologic and clinical features with IPMNs of the pancreas, and may represent a carcinogenesis pathway different from that of conventional bile duct carcinomas arising from flat dysplasia. Given their significant risk of harboring invasive carcinoma, they should be treated with complete resection.
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