Loss of immunohistochemical expression of Dpc4 occurs in about 50% of pancreatic ductal cancers and its loss correlates with DPC4/Smad4 gene inactivation. Dpc4 expression was also lost in 6 of 16 (37%) ampulla of Vater cancers (AVCs) previously analyzed. Furthermore, chromosomal losses involving 18q, where DPC4 is located, have been observed in 34% of AVCs and are associated with decreased survival. To evaluate the possibility that expression of Dpc4 may be correlated with survival, we analyzed 89 AVCs for inactivation of DPC4 by immunohistochemical staining. Thirty-seven cases showed no expression of Dpc4 (41%). Multivariate survival analysis was performed including age, sex, tumor size, histological subtype (intestinal or pancreatobiliary), grade of differentiation, T-stage, lymph-node metastases and Dpc4 status. T-stage and histological subtype were selected as independent prognostic factors, while Dpc4 immunostaining was not significantly associated with any clinicopathological variable, including histological subtype. Although Dpc4 expression is of no clinical relevance, its involvement in AVC gives additional weight to the hypothesis that, among all pancreatic exocrine and endocrine tumors, only AVC and common ductal adenocarcinomas have similar molecular fingerprints. Moreover, comparison of the frequencies of allelic loss on chromosomal arm 18q and the loss of Dpc4 expression (34% and 41%, respectively) is highly suggestive that DPC4 is the major target of these losses.