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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1998 Mar;122(3):266-72.

Tumors of the pancreas with osteoclast-like and pleomorphic giant cells: an immunohistochemical and ploidy study.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento 95817, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Tumors of the pancreas with osteoclast-like giant cells are of uncertain histogenesis and aggressiveness. Their relationship, if any, to undifferentiated (anaplastic) carcinomas of the pancreas with pleomorphic giant cells is also not clear.

METHODS:

Eleven tumors with osteoclast-like giant cells were studied by immunohistochemistry for epithelial and mesenchymal markers, as well as for a proliferation marker (Ki67) and p53 protein expression. Cytometric image analysis for nuclear DNA content was also performed. K-ras mutations were investigated by DNA sequence analysis.

RESULTS:

Neoplastic, predominantly spindle-shaped cells and osteoclast-like giant cells were positive for mesenchymal markers CD68, LCA, and A1ACT. These spindle-shaped cells were also positive for human muscle actin. Spindle-shaped cells of seven tumors were also positive for epithelial markers carcinoembryonic antigen, epithelial membrane antigen, or keratin. Nine tumors contained a variable number of pleomorphic giant cells in addition to osteoclast-like giant cells. Pleomorphic giant cells were much less positive for mesenchymal markers than were osteoclast-like giant cells, but they were positive for some epithelial markers. A high percentage of spindle-shaped and pleomorphic giant cells were positive for Ki67. Diploid and aneuploid populations were present in varying proportions in both spindle cells and pleomorphic giant cells. The nuclei of osteoclast-like giant cells, however, were diploid and not proliferating. Spindle-shaped and pleomorphic giant cells were positive for p53 protein in 5 of 10 cases. Five of six tumors studied were positive for K-ras mutations.

CONCLUSION:

The distinction between tumors with osteoclast-like giant cells and undifferentiated carcinomas with pleomorphic giant cells is often not clear-cut. Both types of tumors have mesenchymal and epithelial characteristics in varying proportions and may arise from an undifferentiated pancreatic stem cell. Long-term survival of two patients suggests that some tumors with osteoclast-like giant cells may have a better prognosis than the usual pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

PMID:
9823867
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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