Background Endoscopic papillectomy of benign papillary tumor is still not widely practiced. Intraductal growth has been considered a contraindication for endoscopic therapy. This prospective study evaluates endoscopic papillectomy for treatment of benign papillary tumors without and with intraductal growth. Methods Monofilament snare and monopolar electrocoagulation were used for papillectomy. A 7F stent was placed in the pancreatic duct. Patients with distal intraductal growth underwent sphincterotomy and endoscopic resection after exclusion of more proximal growth. Results Between February 1985 and April 2004, 106 patients (109 lesions), 68 women, 38 men, median age 68 years (range 29-88 years) were included. Median tumor size was 2 cm (range 0.5-6 cm) with one session (range 1-8) required for removal. Nine patients had invasive carcinoma (8%). Surgery for incomplete removal or recurrence was performed in 12% of 75 patients without and 37% of 31 patients with intraductal growth ( p < 0.01), respectively. Fifteen patients had recurrence (15%); but, only 4 required surgery. Endoscopic resection was curative (median follow-up, 43 months) in 83% without and 46% with intraductal growth ( p < 0.001). Conclusions Endoscopic papillectomy is safe and effective, and may be feasible in cases of intraductal growth. Surveillance and, if required, re-treatment are mandatory because of the risk of recurrence.