Pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas: an analysis of 15 cases

Cancer. 1977 May;39(5):2114-26. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(197705)39:5<2114::aid-cncr2820390528>;2-3.


Pleomorphic carcinoma of the pancreas is a well defined histopathological entity characterized by non-cohesive, sarcoma-like growth pattern, and bizarre mono- and multinucleated tumor giant cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm. Fifteen cases are identified in autopsy files of the Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, which represent 7.1% of all the non-endocrine pancreatic malignancies found at autopsy. Pleomorphic carcinoma is comparable to pancreatic adenocarcinoma in clinical features such as age, sex, and presenting symptoms except that it is more likely to occur in the body and tail of the pancreas, metastases invariably develop, hematogenous spread is more common, and the median survival is worse. Pleomorphic carcinoma could be distinguished from the pancreatic tumors that resemble giant cell tumor of the bone. Differential diagnostic features between it and amelanotic melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, choriocarcinoma, pleomorphic liposarcoma, pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma, fibroxanthosarcoma, poorly differentiated epidermoid carcinoma, and giant cell carcinomas of the lung and thyroid are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / etiology
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Tumors / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / pathology
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*