Focal Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Pancreas

Yasir Ahmed, Usama Sakhawat, Fahad Malik, Saadia Haleema, Daniel Chin, Ali Marhaba


A 67-year-old man was found to have a pancreatic head mass on abdominal ultrasound. He had compensated liver cirrhosis due to hepatitis C. The fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the mass reported an adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, while the subsequent histopathology report of the supraclavicular lymph node showed features of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A second read and additional stains on the FNA specimen confirmed a hepatoid (hepatocellular) carcinoma of the pancreas. He received atezolizumab and bevacizumab and had a good response. Tumors with features of HCC outside of the liver rarely occur and even more rarely in pancreas, with less than 50 cases reported so far. Pure HCC-like morphology is the most common histological form among four subtypes and has a relatively better prognosis. Surgical resection is considered the treatment of choice if amenable and variable outcomes are reported with different chemotherapies. Challenges exist in the diagnosis and the management of this rare and intriguing entity, and the potential misdiagnosis can have grave consequences as the management is completely different for a pancreatic adenocarcinoma and hepatoid carcinoma. We report a case with a challenging diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic hepatoid carcinoma which was treated as unresectable HCC with immunotherapy and the patient had a good response.

J Med Cases. 2024;15(1):1-6


Hepatoid carcinoma; Pancreatic hepatoid carcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Pancreatic carcinoma

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