Adjuvant therapy for true ampullary cancer: a systematic review

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Given the lack of evidence on the best adjuvant approach, this review closely examines optimal adjuvant management for resected true ampullary cancer and its histological subtypes.

Materials and methods

A comprehensive literature search of PubMed was performed to identify studies on resected true ampullary cancers, published between January 2010 and December 2018. Data including the use of radiation, chemotherapy or chemoradiation and the outcomes were extracted.


A total of 116 records were identified, of which 65 screened were selected. Finally, nine studies were included. Only two of the studies reported separately the outcomes of pancreatobiliary and intestinal subtypes. Patients in the selected studies were treated with a pancreaticoduodenectomy with negative margins. Patients treated with adjuvant therapy were more likely to be pT3-4 and have positive nodes; median survival ranged from 30 to 47 months. A significant benefit for adjuvant treatment was observed in four of the studies, restricted to patients at stage IIB or higher. Likewise, patients with positive nodes may have a longer median survival with adjuvant chemoradiation compared to observation.


The present review suggests a benefit for adjuvant treatment for patients with locally advanced tumors. Randomized trials are needed to ascertain the topic, as well as studies reporting toxicity and quality of life of resected true ampullary cancer patients.

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We deeply appreciate Magda Font and Kathryn Gibson for their language support.

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Correspondence to M. Bonet.

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This work is a systematic review from published studies. In consequence patients have not been included in a direct form and experimental treatments have not been performed.

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Bonet, M., Rodrigo, A., Vázquez, S. et al. Adjuvant therapy for true ampullary cancer: a systematic review. Clin Transl Oncol (2020) doi:10.1007/s12094-019-02278-6

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  • Ampullary cancer
  • Adjuvant treatment
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemoradiation