Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Guidelines for the management of patients with pancreatic cancer periampullary and ampullary carcinomas
  1. Pancreatic Section of the British Society of Gastroenterology, Pancreatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Royal College of Pathologists, Special Interest Group for Gastro-Intestinal Radiology
  1. Correspondence to:
    MrC D Johnson
    University Surgical Unit, Mail point 816, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK;

Statistics from


The following recommendations are introduced by brief statements which summarise the evidence and discussion presented in the relevant section of the full text of the guidelines.

1.1 Incidence, mortality rates, and aetiology

Pancreatic cancer is an important health problem for which no simple screening test is available. The strongest aetiological association is with cigarette smoking, although at risk groups include patients with chronic pancreatitis, adult onset diabetes of less than two years’ duration, hereditary pancreatitis, familial pancreatic cancers, and certain familial cancer syndromes. Periampullary cancers are a feature of familial adenomatous polyposis.


  • Continued health education to reduce tobacco consumption should lower the risk of developing pancreatic carcinoma (grade B).

  • All patients at increased inherited risk of pancreatic cancer should be referred to a specialist centre offering specialist clinical advice and genetic counselling and appropriate genetic testing (grade B).

  • Secondary screening for pancreatic cancer in high risk cases should be carried out as part of an investigational programme coordinated through specialist centres (grade B).

  • Examination and biopsy of the periampullary region is important in patients with longstanding familial adenomatous polyposis. The frequency of endoscopy is determined by the severity of the duodenal polyposis (grade B).

  • Patients with stage 4 duodenal polyposis who are fit for surgery should be offered resection (grade B).

1.2 Pathology

Most pancreatic cancers are of ductal origin and present at a stage when they are locally advanced, and exhibit vascular invasion and lymph node metastases. Variants of ductal carcinomas and other malignant tumours of the pancreas are rare.


  • Proper recognition of variants of ductal carcinomas and other malignant tumours of the pancreas require specialist pathological expertise (grade C).

  • The minimum data set proposed by the Royal College of Pathologists (see appendix for details) should be used for reporting histological examination of pancreatic resection specimens (grade C).

1.3 Clinical features

In the majority of patients, the clinical …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.