Ampullary cancer is a malignant tumor that arises from the Ampulla of Vater, the last centimeter of the common bile duct as it passes through the duodenum, the first section of the intestine. All pancreatic and biliary secretions enter the duodenum through the Ampulla of Vater.
Ampulla Of Vater Duodenum Adapted from Gordon Flynn, Wikimedia Commons by Open.Michigan
A tumor blocking the Ampulla of Vater will interfere with drainage of the pancreatic and biliary secretions into the intestine. Jaundice results when the drainage of bile into the duodenum is blocked causing it to accumulate in in the bloodstream. Jaundice, the yellowing of the skin, is typically one of the first symptoms present with Ampullary cancer.
The diagnostic tests used to for ampullary cancer are similar to those for pancreatic cancer; endoscopy or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are frequently used to make the diagnosis.
Treatment of ampullary cancer
The standard treatment for ampullary cancer is a pylorus preserving Whipple procedure. Five year survival for ampullary tumors is excellent if the tumor does not invade the adjacent pancreas.