Background: Tumors of the major and the minor duodenal papillae can be malignant or premalignant, and traditionally are treated by surgical excision. This study evaluated the safety and the outcome of endoscopic snare resection of such tumors.
Methods: All patients with tumors of the major or the minor papilla treated by endoscopic snare resection over a 10-year period (1994-2003) were identified from an ERCP database. Patients with tumors that had endoscopic features of malignancy and those proven to be cancerous by biopsy were excluded. Papillectomy was performed by electrosurgical snare resection. A pancreatic stent usually was placed before or after excision. Residual tumor was eradicated by repeated procedures. Endoscopic surveillance was at the discretion of the endoscopist.
Results: Seventy snare resections were performed in 55 patients (mean age 59 years). Histopathologic diagnoses were the following: adenoma (45 patients; 7 with focal high-grade dysplasia, 6 with intraductal extension), adenocarcinoma (5), carcinoid tumor (2), gastric heterotopia (1), and normal histology (2). Fourteen patients had familial adenomatous polyposis. Of the 39 patients with isolated extraductal adenoma per cholangiogram, two underwent surgical resection because of persistent high-grade dysplasia, and 37 were successfully treated by endoscopic papillectomy alone. During follow-up (mean 30 months), 18 of 37 patients (49%) had no recurrence, 7 had recurrent adenoma (mean time interval to recurrence 27 months), two died of unrelated illnesses, and 10 are awaiting follow-up. Of the 6 patients with intraductal adenoma per cholangiogram, two underwent surgical resection, two had intraductal photodynamic therapy, and two had endoscopic snare resection. Intraductal tumor in the 4 latter patients was eliminated, although it recurred in one of the patients who had photodynamic therapy. Of the 7 patients with adenocarcinoma or carcinoid tumor, pancreaticoduodenectomy was performed in 3 and palliative papillectomy was performed in 4 unsuitable for surgery. One patient with carcinoid tumor of the minor papilla is alive, without recurrence, at 5 years after papillectomy. There were 10 procedure-related complications (14.5%), including pancreatitis (5), bleeding (4), and mild perforation (1). There was no procedure-related death.
Conclusions: Most adenomas of the duodenal papillae without intraductal extension can be fully resected by snare papillectomy. However, adenoma recurs in about a third of patients. Endoscopic therapy appears to be a reasonable alternative to surgery for management of papillary tumors. Longer follow-up is needed to determine the true recurrence rate and if endoscopic re-treatments are effective.