Undifferentiated sarcomatoid carcinoma (USC) of the pancreas is a rare but especially aggressive variant of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), composed of at least 80% of sarcomatoid cells. This study aimed to elucidate its clinicopathological and molecular features. The study cohort included 10 patients with pancreatic USC. Clinicopathological parameters were determined for each patient. The molecular profile was investigated using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Histologically, all tumors were hypercellular neoplasms with spindle-shaped or sarcomatoid cells. All patients showed vascular and perineural invasion. Most patients had a poor prognosis. NGS showed important similarities with conventional PDAC, including frequent alterations in the classic PDAC drivers, KRAS (100% of cases), TP53 (90%), and CDKN2A (60%). There were also some important distinctions from conventional PDAC: 1) SMAD4, a typical PDAC driver gene, was mutated in only one case (10%); 2) Another distinctive molecular feature was the recurrent KRAS amplification (30% of cases), which is very rare in conventional PDAC. It has been previously reported in another subtype of pancreatic undifferentiated carcinoma, the rhabdoid variant, and may be a key event leading to the acquisition of an undifferentiated phenotype in a subgroup of cases; 3) Lastly, in two different cases, we detected two potentially actionable targets, not belonging to the typical PDAC molecular landscape, such as MCL1 amplification and POLQ mutation. Our study sheds light on this rare tumor type, which shows aggressive biological behavior and few druggable alterations. The most distinctive molecular features of pancreatic USC are the paucity of SMAD4 alterations and recurrent KRAS amplification.
Gkountakos, Anastasios;Mafficini, Andrea;Malleo, Giuseppe;Salvia, Roberto;Calicchia, Martina;Antonini, Pietro;Mattiolo, Paola;Simbolo, Michele;Bariani, Elena;Milella, Michele;Lawlor, Rita T;Scarpa, Aldo;Luchini, Claudio
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