BACKGROUND/AIM: The clinical presentation, pancreatographic findings, and outcome of patients with intraductal papillary mucinous tumours have not been reported in a large patient series in the English literature. This study reviewed 32 patients diagnosed between 1980 and 1994, with special attention to these features. PATIENTS/METHOD: Data on 24 operated and eight non-operated patients were abstracted from inpatient, outpatient, and procedure records. RESULTS: Acute pancreatitis was the most common presentation seen in 56% of patients. Relapses occurred during an average of 43 months before diagnosis. A patulous papilla was observed in 55% of the cases. Endoscopic pancreatography showed communicating cysts, a diffusely dilated main pancreatic duct, and amorphous defects in 42, 71, and 97% respectively. An invasive carcinoma was found in nine of 24 (37.5%) of operated patients: six of the patients (66%) died or developed metastases within three years after surgery. No mortality was related to the tumour in absence of invasive carcinoma. Benign recurrence on the remaining pancreas was unusual and occurred late after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Intraductal papillary mucinous tumours must be considered in the differential diagnosis of relapsing pancreatitis. Despite slow growing, these tumours have an obvious malignant potential and a very poor prognosis when invasive carcinoma has developed. Early recognition and resection are the cornerstones of treatment.
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