Acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 1 Nov 2022

Pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma is a rare exocrine neoplasm that comprises ~1% of all pancreatic tumors. This tumor shows more aggressive behavior than the far more common adenocarcinoma 1,3,4.

High levels of serum lipase, due to hypersecretion syndrome, resulting in subcutaneous fat necrosis form part of its presentation 2,3,5.

  • on contrast-enhanced CT, generally presents as an enhancing, ovoid, solid pancreatic tumor

  • variable hypo/hyperattenuating mass relative to the pancreas, with well-distinguished margins

  • non-biliary duct dilation

    • only 17% of cases demonstrate bile duct dilatation

    • this is one of the differentiating features from adenocarcinoma 1

  • hypovascular tumor with adjacent organ invasion

  • internal calcification (50% of cases)

  • tumor encapsulation 

  • peripancreatic lymph nodes

In cases of disease confinement to the pancreas, surgical resection is curative and in cases of distant metastasis, surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy is the treatment of choice 1,2,4.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: on CT
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1: on MRI
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.