A histomorphologic comparison of familial and sporadic pancreatic cancers

Pancreatology. 2015 Jul-Aug;15(4):387-391. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Background: It is estimated that approximately 10% of pancreatic cancers have a familial component. Many inheritable genetic syndromes are associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer, such as Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, hereditary breast-ovarian cancer and familial atypical multiple mole melanoma, but these conditions account for only a minority of familial pancreatic cancers. Previous studies have identified an increased prevalence of noninvasive precursor lesions, including pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, in the pancreata of patients with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer. A detailed investigation of the histopathology of invasive familial pancreatic cancer could provide insights into the mechanisms responsible for familial pancreatic cancer, as well as aid early detection and treatment strategies.

Methods: We have conducted a blinded review of the pathology of 519 familial and 651 sporadic pancreatic cancers within the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry. Patients with familial pancreatic cancer were defined as individuals from families in which at least a pair of first-degree relatives have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Results: Overall, there were no statistically significant differences in histologic subtypes between familial and sporadic pancreatic cancers (p > 0.05). In addition, among surgical resection specimens within the study cohort, no statistically significant differences in mean tumor size, location, perineural invasion, angiolymphatic invasion, lymph node metastasis and pathologic stage were identified (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Similar to sporadic pancreatic cancer, familial pancreatic cancer is morphologically and prognostically a heterogeneous disease.

Keywords: Familial; Hereditary; Histology; Morphology; Pancreatic cancer; Pathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Cohort Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic carcinoma, familial