Our review supports the clinical impression that periampullary cancers vary in outcome after resection. Overall survival after pancreaticoduodenectomy is greatest for patients with ampullary and duodenal cancers, intermediate for patients with bile duct cancer, and least for patients with pancreatic cancer. Moreover, survival for each tumor stage is greater for nonpancreatic periampullary cancers than for pancreatic cancers. Invasion of the pancreas by nonpancreatic periampullary cancers is a major factor adversely affecting survival. Recent data suggest that inherent differences in tumor biology rather than embryologic, anatomic, or histologic factors probably account for these differences in survival. Finally, although pancreaticoduodenectomy remains the procedure of choice for resectable periampullary cancers, further increases in survival will likely evolve through more effective neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapies rather than modifications in the surgical approach.
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