Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Causing Necrotizing Pancreatitis: Not as Rare as You Think?

Kyle A. Lewellen, Thomas K. Maatman, Mark A. Heimberger, Eugene P. Ceppa, Michael G. House, Attila Nakeeb, C. Max Schmidt, Nicholas J. Zyromski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Necrotizing pancreatitis (NP) presents a unique clinical challenge because of its complex and lengthy disease course. Pancreatic necrosis occurs in 10%-20% of acute pancreatitis cases and may result from any etiology. Scattered reports describe pancreatic tumors causing NP; however, the relationship between these disease processes is not clear. We have treated patients whose NP was caused by pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and therefore sought to clarify the clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods: Patients treated between 2005 and 2018 for NP caused by PDAC were identified. The relationship between NP and PDAC was examined, and the clinical courses of both disease processes were evaluated. Results: Among 647 patients treated for NP, seven patients (1.1%) had PDAC and NP. The mean age at NP diagnosis was 60.6 y (range, 49-66). Two patients had postprocedural pancreatitis after cancer diagnosis, and the remaining five patients had NP caused by PDAC. Median duration between diagnoses of NP and PDAC was 5.6 mo (range, 3.5-21.8). For PDAC treatment, four patients received chemotherapy alone, one received palliative radiation therapy, and one died without oncologic management. One patient underwent operative resection of PDAC. Median survival was 12.7 mo (range, 0.4-49.9). Conclusions: PDAC may be a more common cause of NP than previously considered and should be considered in patients with NP of appropriate age in whom etiology is otherwise unclear. Prompt diagnosis facilitates optimal treatment in this challenging clinical situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Necrotizing
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Causing Necrotizing Pancreatitis: Not as Rare as You Think?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this