• ampulla of Vater;
  • intraductal dissemination;
  • pancreatic duct;
  • papillary adenocarcinoma

It has been speculated that intraductal dissemination, via the pancreatic duct, bile duct, or mammary duct, is a unique form of cancer cell spread. However, clinical evidence to confirm this form of dissemination has been lacking. Here we report a case of papillary adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater in which retrograde dissemination to the pancreatic duct was strongly suggested. A 79-year-old woman underwent pancreatoduodenectomy for a 22 mm microinvasive papillary adenocarcinoma of the ampulla. Multiple carcinomas in situ were found in the pancreatic duct distant from the ampulla. Seven months later, she underwent a second operation for a recurrent papillary adenocarcinoma at the pancreato-jejunal anastomosis showing exophytic and expansive growth into the jejunal lumen that connected to an intraductal adenocarcinoma in the pancreatic body. None of these tumors showed invasive growth, or vascular or neural invasion, being separate from each other but sharing identical histological, immunohistochemical, and molecular features; papillary growth, a pancreatobiliary phenotype, the same pattern of genomic loss of heterozygosity, and no mutation of the KRAS, TP53, and GNAS genes. These results imply that this papillary adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater had disseminated to the pancreatic duct in a retrograde manner and recurred in the remnant pancreas.