Background: Gastro-duodenal polyps develop in up to 90% of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) patients and periampullary carcinoma is one of the most common extra-colonic malignancies in this syndrome. Periampullary adenomas have been shown to be precursor lesions to periampullary carcinoma. Sulindac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, has been reported to cause regression of rectal polyps in FAP patients, however its role in periampullary polyp regression is unclear.
Methods: In May 1993, a prospective study was begun to evaluate the role of sulindac in prevention of polyp recurrence after resection of large (> 1 cm) duodenal polyps in FAP patients. Eight patients, mean age 50 years (range 35 to 65), with documented large periampullary polyps were placed on sulindac 150 mg twice daily. Prior to enrollment, all patients had their large polyps removed from the periampullary region by interventional endoscopy or by surgery. All patients had multiple small residual duodenal polyps. Follow-up was performed by one experienced endoscopist with a side-viewing video endoscope. Endoscopy was performed 6 monthly. Median follow-up time was 17.5 months (range 10 to 24 months).
Results: In 3 patients, sulindac was discontinued due to side effects: abdominal cramps (n = 2) and upper G-I bleeding (n = 1). None of the patients had regression of small periampullary polyps. In addition, one patient developed an invasive periampullary carcinoma while on sulindac and 3 patients developed large recurrent periampullary polyps requiring further treatment.
Summary: In our experience, sulindac is of no significant benefit for the control of periampullary polyps in FAP. Effective medical treatment of these polyps is still lacking.