, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 157-167
Date: 16 Aug 2011

Pancreatic Involvement by Plasma Cell Neoplasms

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Pancreatic involvement by plasma cell neoplasms is an extremely rare event, with only 50 cases described in the literature. They can present as a primary solitary extramedullary plasmacytoma or plasmacytoma secondary to a plasma cell myeloma. Clinical manifestations are due to the presence of a pancreatic mass usually in the pancreas head, which causes extra-biliary obstruction and abdominal pain.


Abdominal imaging including CT scan or endoscopic ultrasound with fine-needle aspiration tissue sampling is essential for the initial diagnostic procedure. However, immunohistochemical analysis of the biopsy specimen or flow cytometry of the aspirated material is crucial to prove the monoclonality and the final diagnosis of a plasma cell neoplasm.


Management of these situations include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery or combined therapy. Novel medications including the immunomodulatory drugs or the proteasome inhibitors followed by consolidation with intensive chemotherapy and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation are nowadays used as upfront treatment in the cases associated to a plasma cell myeloma.


Despite the rarity, plasma cell neoplasms should be considered in the differential diagnosis of obstructive jaundice and pancreatic neoplasms since they are potentially treatable situations.