Pleomorphic carcinoma is a rare variant of pancreatic exocrine carcinoma. The aim of this communication is to reappraise surgical resection of pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas. Clinicopathological findings of four Japanese patients with pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas were reviewed and compared with those of 24 Japanese patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas to clarify possible surgical implications of pleomorphic carcinoma. Of the four patients, three were female and one male, aged 64, 65, 66, and 74 yr, respectively. Two carcinomas were located in the head of the pancreas, one in the body, and the other in the tail. Ultrasonography demonstrated a well defined hypoechoic mass measuring 5-10 cm, with central necrotic area in all of the patients. Computed tomography showed a low density tumor with sharp margin and heterogenous internal structure in all. On angiography, three tumors were hypervascular and another was hypovascular. Extensive vascular encasement was observed in all. Pancreatoduodenectomy was done in two patients and distal pancreatectomy in the other two. Multiple liver metastases occurred 1 month after surgical resection in two patients and local recurrence 1 month in one and 2 months in the other, leading to death either 2 (2 patients) or 3 months (2 patients) after pancreatectomy. Significantly differentiating features of the four pleomorphic carcinomas of the pancreas and the 24 adenocarcinomas of the pancreas were the mean diameter (6.6 ± 1.3 cm vs 3.5 ± 0.3 cm, p = 0.0007), margin of the tumor (expansive in the four pleomorphic carcinomas versus infiltrative in 21 of the 24 adenocarcinomas, p = 0.003) and vascularity on angiography (hypervascular in three of the four pleomorphic carcinomas versus hypovascular in 21 of the 23 adenocarcinomas,p = 0.013). The 1-yr and 3-yr survival rates of the four patients with pleomorphic carcinoma were 0% and 0%, whereas those of the 24 patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were 42% and 13%, respectively (p < 0.0001). These findings suggest that the clinical course of patients with pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas is so poor even after surgical resection that pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas is not a candidate for pancreatectomy despite its locally expansive growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes