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Primary squamous cell carcinoma of the pancreas: a case report and review of the literature

Ravi Kodavatiganti1*, Fiona Campbell12, Ahmed Hashmi1 and Simon W Gollins1

Author Affiliations

1 North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Sarn Lane, Denbighshire, LL18 5UJ, UK

2 Department of Histopathology, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS trust, Prescot street, Liverpool, L7 8XP, UK

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:295  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-295

Published: 13 September 2012



Primary squamous cell carcinoma of the pancreas is a rare tumor with poor prognosis and is found in the literature only as case reports. The optimal management course remains poorly defined. We present a case of primary basaloid squamous cell carcinoma of the pancreas metastatic to the liver, which was treated with surgery and systemic chemotherapy. Our patient survived for 15 months: the longest survival reported in the literature to date.

Case presentation

A 70-year-old Caucasian man presented to hospital with a three-month history of weight loss, pruritus and icterus. Imaging studies confirmed the presence of an operable mass lesion in the head of the pancreas. Following a pancreaticoduodenectomy, histology results led us to make a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. Postoperative restaging showed multiple metastases in the liver. He underwent palliative systemic chemotherapy with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil achieving partial response and an excellent quality of life. He then went on to start second-line chemotherapy, but unfortunately died of sepsis soon thereafter.


This case report emphasizes that achievement of a worthwhile objective and symptomatic palliative response is possible using platinum-based chemotherapy in squamous cell carcinoma of the pancreas.