Relevant infrastructural alterations in invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Vol. 56 No. 1, 2015


Vlad Denis Constantin, Gabriel-Valeriu Mirancea, Ana-Maria Morosanu, Nicolae Mirancea

In this study, we focus our interest on some peculiar infrastructural abnormalities detected in a pancreatic cancer case. Our electron microscopic observations underline the high plasticity of the pancreatic parenchyma cells. Tumor pancreatic exocrine lesions are represented by putative ductal and acinar cells, which proliferate and grow in a haphazard pattern, detrimental to endocrine counterpart. The tumor cells do not exhibit neither a pure ductular or ductal nor a pure acinar phenotype, but tumor lesions represented by neoplastic ductal cells with invasive growth are by far prevalently. In our pancreatic cancer case, electron microscopic investigation clearly shows that a plethora of the epithelial cells from the tumor lesions contain large areas of autophagy leading to the pleomorphic inclusions represented by fibrillary/filamentous inclusions frequently associated with hyaline-amorphous material, and secondary lysosomes. One of the mostly striking and important finding in this report for a case of pancreatic cancer is the high fragility (extensive dissolutions) of plasma membrane of tumor cells leading to pseudo-syncytia formation. Desmosomal junctions are severely altered, almost missing. Plasma membranes showed shedding membrane vesicles. Extravasated inflammatory cells contribute to the dramatic and extensive destructive areas of epithelial cells as well as tumor-stroma counterpart, including the basement membrane. All above severe infrastructural abnormalities, especially down regulation of cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesions might result in aberrant cell behavior and, consequently, much care should be taken for the postoperatory patient evolution.

Corresponding author: Nicolae Mirancea, Professor, PhD, Senior Scientist Grade I; e-mail:

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