Pancreatoblastoma (PB), or infantile pancreatic carcinoma, is an extremely rare pancreatic tumor in childhood, comprising 0.5% of pancreatic non-endocrine tumors. Although PB mainly presents during childhood but can also occur in adults. PB tend to be less aggressive in infants and children compared to adults. Children with PB usually present late with upper abdominal pain and many have a palpable mass in the epigastrium. Mechanical obstruction of the upper duodenum and gastric outlet by tumor in the head of the pancreas may be associated with vomiting, jaundice and gastrointestinal bleeding. Histologically, PB is characterized with distinct acinar and squamoid cell differentiation. PB has been associated with alterations in the Wnt signaling pathway and chromosome 11p loss of heterozygosity (LOH), Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis. The majority of these tumors arise in the head of the pancreas. Alpha-fetoprotein may be elevated in up to 68% of patients with PB. Ultrasound and CT scan may be useful but preoperative diagnosis is often quite difficult. The treatment of choice is complete resection, that may often be curative. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy is still under discussion due to small number of patients treated as yet. Chemotherapy regimens consisting of cyclophosphamide, etoposide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin have been used in neoadjuvant setting with anecdotal benefit. Prognosis of this rare tumor is good, when resected completely. Prognosis is poorer, when there is metastasis or when it is inoperable. On the whole, PB is regarded to be a curable tumor; hence the clinical diagnosis should be made early. Awareness of this rare tumor of pancreas is essential for early detection and proper management. The author review the clinical presentation, etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of PB in this presentation.
Muhammad Wasif Saif