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Environ Health Perspect. 1984 Jun;56:187-203.

Histogenesis of pancreatic carcinogenesis in the hamster: ultrastructural evidence.


Pancreatic carcinogenesis in the Syrian hamster, induced by beta-oxidized derivatives of N-nitroso-di-n-propylamine, constitutes a valuable model of human cancer of the exocrine pancreas. In both species the majority of tumors are adenocarcinomas: superficially, on the basis of their histological appearance, these appear to be ductal in origin. However, sequential analysis, by electron microscopy, of the development of pancreatic neoplasia in the hamster model indicates that acinar cells may participate in the histogenesis of "ductal" adenomas and carcinomas. Acinar cells appear to undergo changes in differentiation, including pseudoductular transformation, giving rise to a new population of cells that resemble ductular or centroacinar types. This new population may then proliferate to form, first, cystic foci and subsequently cystadenomas and adenocarcinomas. Mucous metaplasia appears to develop at late stages of tumor development. Although the participation of ductular and centroacinar cells in pancreatic carcinogenesis cannot be excluded, very few tumors arise from the ductal epithelium. It is possible that some human pancreatic adenocarcinomas may also have their origin from dysplastic acinar cells, by analogy with the hamster model: focal acinar dysplasia being common in human pancreatic cancer patients.

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