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Int J Pancreatol. 1992 Feb;11(1):23-9.

Pancreatic mixed ductal-islet tumors. Is this an entity?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Linköping, Sweden.


Thirty-eight human pancreatic cancer specimens were studied for the reactivity of cancer cells with monoclonal antibodies against insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), gastrin, calcitonin, and with argyrophilic reactivity. Immunoreactivity with one or several antibodies or argyrophilic reactivity were found in 30 (79%) cases. In 17 cases, the number of endocrine cells was excessive and morphologically consistent with the mixed ductal-islet tumor. Although most immunoreactive cells were located at the base of the malignant glands, some had intraepithelial location and were also present in the invasive portion of cancers, indicating their malignant nature. Endocrine cell proliferation were found in the pancreatic tissue adjacent to the carcinoma in 8 out of 12 specimens examined. In these cases, the immunoreactive cells were either distributed among the acinar cells or ductal cells. More endocrine cells were found in the hyperplastic ducts; however, no correlation was found between the degree of hyperplasia and the occurrence of any type of immunoreactive cells. Although several types of endocrine cells occurred in different pancreatic regions (head, body, and tail), PP cells were restricted to tissues taken from the head of the pancreas. Experimental data and similar observations by other investigators led us to conclude that participation of endocrine cells in ductal-type carcinomas is a general phenomenon and does not justify the classification of these lesions to mixed ductal-islet entity. However, because immunoreactive cells were more common and numerous in well-differentiated carcinomas, they may have some prognostic values.

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