, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1495-1502
Date: 03 Jun 2009

Pancreatic Acinar Cell Carcinoma: A Multi-institutional Study

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The presentation and outcome of patients with acinar cell carcinoma (ACC) of the pancreas compared to the more common ductal cell adenocarcinoma (DCA) may be distinct. This study combines the experience with ACC from multiple academic institutions to better understand its natural history and outcomes.


This study is a multi-institutional retrospective review of patients with ACC.


Between 1988 and 2008, 17 patients were identified with pathologically confirmed ACC. Median age at presentation was 59 years. Common presenting symptoms were abdominal pain (60%), back pain (50%), and weight loss (45%). Fifteen patients underwent 16 operations: pancreaticoduodenectomy (nine), distal pancreatectomy (four), and exploratory laparotomy (three). Mean tumor size was 5.3 cm. American Joint Commission on Cancer tumor stages were stage I (two), stage II (eight), stage III (four), and stage IV (three). Overall, 1- and 5-year survival rates were 88% and 50%, respectively. In resected cases (13), 1- and 5-year survival rates were 92% and 53%, respectively. Median survival in resected cases was 61 months. This is in contrast to 1,608 patients with ductal cell adenocarcinoma who underwent resection identified from recent literature reports where the average median survival was only 24 months. There was no discernable difference in the outcomes of patients with ACC between United States and Germany patients.


Acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas is rare and appears to have a presentation and outcome distinct from the more common pancreatic DCA. Based upon these data, the outcome of patients with ACC is superior to that of DCA.

Jesus M. Matos and C. Max Schmidt contributed equally to this work.
This paper was presented at the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT) in San Diego, California in May 2008.