Introduction: The appropriate management of patients with branch-duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (BD-IPMN) with multiple involvements of branch ducts (multifocal BD-IPMN) remains challenging.
Patients and methods: Our database of patients affected by IPMN was queried to identify patients with a clinicoradiologic or a pathologic diagnosis of multifocal BD-IPMN between January 1990 and December 2006.
Results: One hundred thirty-one patients (52 male and 79 female; median age 67 years) had a clinicoradiologic or a histopathologic diagnosis of multifocal BD-IPMN. Ten patients (7.6%) underwent surgery. After a median follow-up of 40 months (range 12 to 127) all the 121 patients conservatively managed are alive, and none underwent surgery during follow-up. One patient with invasive carcinoma developed hepatic metastases and died of disease 88 months after surgery.
Comments: Patients with branch-side IPMN can be conservatively managed, but when multifocality is present follow-up may be problematic because of the number of lesions to be evaluated. The nonoperative management of well-selected patients with BD-IPMN, even in the multifocal setting, seems to be safe and reliable.