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Diagnosis, risk stratification, and management of ampullary dysplasia by DNA flow cytometric analysis of paraffin-embedded tissue


The limited accuracy of endoscopic biopsy in detecting high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma within ampullary adenoma or dysplasia has been reported. The natural history of ampullary dysplasia is also unclear, and there are no established guidelines to determine which patients with ampullary dysplasia require resection versus surveillance endoscopy. DNA flow cytometry was performed on 47 ampullary biopsies with low-grade dysplasia, 18 high-grade dysplasia, and 23 negative for dysplasia, as well as 11 cases of ampullary adenocarcinoma. Abnormal DNA content (aneuploidy or elevated 4N fraction > 6%) was identified in 9 (82%) of adenocarcinoma, 13 (72%) of high-grade dysplasia, 7 (15%) of low-grade dysplasia, and none (0%) of non-dysplastic mucosa. One-, 2-, and 7-year detection rates of high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma in low-grade dysplasia patients with abnormal DNA content were 57%, 86%, and 88%, respectively, whereas low-grade dysplasia patients in the setting of normal DNA content had 1-, 2-, and 7-year detection rates of 10%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. The univariate and multivariate hazard ratios (HRs) for subsequent detection of high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma in low-grade dysplasia patients with DNA content abnormality were 16.8 (p = <0.01) and 9.8 (p = <0.01), respectively. Among the 13 high-grade dysplasia patients with DNA content abnormality, 5 patients (38%) were subsequently found to have adenocarcinoma within a mean follow-up time of 3 months, whereas only 1 (20%) of the remaining 5 patients in the setting of normal DNA content developed adenocarcinoma in a month (HR = 2.6, p = 0.39). The overall 1- and 2-year detection rates of adenocarcinoma in all high-grade dysplasia patients (regardless of flow cytometric results) were 34% (95% confidence interval = 16–63%) and 47% (95% confidence interval = 23–79%), respectively. In conclusion, the majority of low-grade dysplasia patients (86%) in the setting of abnormal DNA content developed high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma within 2 years and thus may benefit from resection, whereas those with normal DNA content may be followed with surveillance endoscopy. The presence of DNA content abnormality can also confirm a morphologic suspicion of high-grade dysplasia, which should be managed with resection, as nearly 50% of the high-grade dysplasia patients were found to have adenocarcinoma within 2 years.

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This study was funded by the University of California at San Francisco Department of Pathology.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Correspondence to Won-Tak Choi.

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