Pancreatic undifferentiated carcinoma with osteoclast-like giant cells is genetically similar to, but clinically distinct from, conventional ductal adenocarcinoma

J Pathol. 2017 Oct;243(2):148-154. doi: 10.1002/path.4941. Epub 2017 Sep 5.


Undifferentiated carcinoma of the pancreas with osteoclast-like giant cells (UCOGC) is currently considered a morphologically and clinically distinct variant of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). In this study, we report clinical and pathological features of a series of 22 UCOGCs, including the whole exome sequencing of eight UCOGCs. We observed that 60% of the UCOGCs contained a well-defined epithelial component and that patients with pure UCOGC had a significantly better prognosis than did those with an UCOGC with an associated epithelial neoplasm. The genetic alterations in UCOGC are strikingly similar to those known to drive conventional PDAC, including activating mutations in the oncogene KRAS and inactivating mutations in the tumor suppressor genes CDKN2A, TP53, and SMAD4. These results further support the classification of UCOGC as a PDAC variant and suggest that somatic mutations are not the determinants of the unique phenotype of UCOGC. Copyright © 2017 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: PDAC variants; undifferentiated carcinoma with osteoclast-like giant cells; whole exome sequencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Exome / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Osteoclasts / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Neoplasm Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma