: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and distal cholangiocarcinoma (dCCA) are very aggressive tumors with a high mortality rate. Pancreas and distal bile ducts share a common embryonic development. Hence, PDAC and dCCA exhibit similar histological features that make a differential diagnosis during routine diagnostic practice challenging. However, there are also significant differences, with potential clinical implications. Even if PDAC and dCCA are generally associated with poor survival, patients with dCCA seem to present a better prognosis. Moreover, although precision oncology-based approaches are still limited in both entities, their most important targets are different and include alterations affecting BRCA1/2 and related genes in PDAC, as well as HER2 amplification in dCCA. Along this line, microsatellite instability represents a potential contact point in terms of tailored treatments, but its prevalence is very low in both tumor types. This review aims at defining the most important similarities and differences in terms of clinicopathological and molecular features between these two entities, also discussing the main theranostic implications derived from this challenging differential diagnosis.
Gkountakos, Anastasios;Martelli, Filippo M;Bevere, Michele;De Bellis, Mario;Alaimo, Laura;Masetto, Francesca;Mombello, Aldo;Simbolo, Michele;Bariani, Elena;Milella, Michele;Fassan, Matteo;Scarpa, Aldo;Luchini, Claudio
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