Intraductal papillary mucinous tumors of the pancreas comprise 2 clinical subtypes: differences in clinical characteristics and surgical management

Arch Surg. 1999 Oct;134(10):1131-6. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.134.10.1131.


Hypothesis: Intraductal papillary mucinous tumors (IPMTs) of the pancreas may be meaningfully construed as representing 2 clinically distinct subtypes: main duct tumors (MDT) and branch duct tumors (BDT).

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: University hospital from January 1988 through December 1994.

Patients and intervention: We reviewed diagnostic findings and late results of surgical treatment in 30 patients with IPMT.

Results: The tumor was located in the head of the pancreas more often in BDT than in MDT (65% [11/17] and 23% [3/13], respectively). Of the 13 patients with MDTs, 12 (92%) had intraductal papillary adenocarcinoma (noninvasive and minimally invasive types) and/or carcinoma in situ (carcinoma in situ: low papillary and/or flat tumor cells), and 3 (23%) had stromal invasion. Of the 17 patients with BDTs, 5 (29%) had intraductal papillary adenocarcinoma and/or carcinoma in situ. Two pancreatoduodenectomies and 8 pylorus-preserving pancreatoduodenectomies were performed in 10 of the 17 patients with BDTs, distal pancreatectomy in 7 patients with MDTs, and total pancreatectomy in 4 patients with MDTs. The 5-year survival rates were 47% for MDT and 90% for BDT. Four of 6 patients with MDTs who died had local recurrence. One patient died of liver metastasis and 1 of esophageal cancer. Only 1 patient with BDT of the 2 who died had recurrent disease.

Conclusions: Intraductal papillary mucinous tumors may be composed of 2 clinically distinct subtypes: MDTs and BDTs. Initially, although distal pancreatectomy can be recommended for most MDTs, the need for cancer-free margins in this more aggressive type may necessitate total pancreatectomy. Pylorus-perserving pancreatoduodenectomies is recommended for most BDTs, but, because these tumors are more often adenomas, a good prognosis can be expected.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / classification*
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / diagnostic imaging
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / mortality
  • Cystadenoma, Mucinous / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / classification*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate