Background: Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the pancreas (SCP) is a rare histologic subtype of undifferentiated pancreatic carcinoma. Historically, this has been associated with a worse overall prognosis than adenocarcinoma. However, the clinical course and surgical outcomes of SCP remain poorly characterized owing to its rarity.
Methods: A single-institution, prospectively maintained database was queried for patients who underwent pancreatic resection with a final diagnosis of SCP. We describe their histology, clinicopathologic features, and perioperative outcomes. Survival data are highlighted, and common traits of long-term survivors are examined.
Results: Over a 25-year period, 7009 patents underwent pancreatic resection at our institution. Eight (0.11%) were diagnosed with SCP on final histopathology. R0 resection was achieved in six patients (75%). Four patients had early recurrence leading to death (<3 months). Two (25%) experienced long-term survival (>5 years), with the longest surviving nearly 16 years despite the presence of lymph node metastasis. There were no deaths attributed to perioperative complications. Both long-term survivors had disease in the body/tail of the pancreas and received adjuvant radiotherapy. One also received adjuvant gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.
Conclusions: SCP is a rarely appreciated subset of pancreatic malignancy that does not necessarily portend to a uniformly dismal prognosis. Although some have rapid recurrence and an early demise, long-term survival may be possible. Future studies are needed to better define the cohort with potential for long-term survival so that aggressive therapies may be tailored appropriately in this patient subset.
Keywords: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Sarcomatoid carcinoma; Survival.
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