Background: Elevated bile amylase level in patients with pancreaticobiliary maljunction (PBM) or high confluence of pancreaticobiliary ducts (HCPBD) is well known as a risk factor for gallbladder carcinoma (GBC) development. However, the effects of occult pancreaticobiliary reflux (OPR), a condition characterized by high bile amylase level in the presence of an anatomically normal pancreaticobiliary junction, on GBC development remain unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between OPR and GBC. Methods: Clinicopathological data of 52 patients who were preoperatively diagnosed with gallbladder (GB) tumor (22 malignant, 30 benign) were retrospectively reviewed. All of the patients underwent preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to evaluate pancreaticobiliary junction morphology and bile amylase level. The relationship between the histological diagnosis of GB lesions, and pancreaticobiliary junction morphology and bile amylase level were investigated. Results: Pancreaticobiliary maljunction, HCPBD, and normal pancreaticobiliary junction (NPJ) were identified in 12, nine, and 31 patients, respectively. The rates of GBC in patients with PBM, HCPBD, and NPJ were 58% (7/12), 67% (6/9), and 29% (9/31), respectively. Of the 31 patients with NPJ, 22 had OPR and nine of these had GBC. None of the patients with NPJ and normal bile amylase level had GBC. Additionally, among patients with NPJ, bile amylase level was significantly higher in patients with GBC than in patients with benign tumors. Conclusions: Occult pancreaticobiliary reflux, like PBM and HCPBD, is a risk factor for GBC development.
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