Pathology of pancreatic tumours

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A diverse range of tumours can develop from the pancreas. Ductal adenocarcinoma – often referred to as ‘pancreatic cancer’ – is by far the most common and carries a dismal prognosis.

The other tumour entities arising in the pancreas differ in their clinical presentation, behaviour and management. Whilst preoperative imaging can make the distinction between the different tumour types to a certain extent, the definitive diagnosis often relies on histopathological examination. The traditional dichotomy – solid versus cystic neoplasms – is a fundamental diagnostic criterion used in both radiology and pathology.

In this review, the key gross and microscopic characteristics of each tumour entity are outlined, along with current classification and staging systems. Principle clinical features and existing therapeutic options are mentioned.

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