Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is associated with a unique endocrinopathy distinct from type 2 diabetes mellitus

Sajan Jiv Singh Nagpal, Harika Kandlakunta, Tracy Her, Ayush Sharma, Shilpa Sannapaneni, Thomas C. Smyrk, Pruthvi Velamala, Sushil K. Garg, Kuntol Rakshit, Shounak Majumder, Suresh Chari, Aleksey Matveyenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The majority of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PC) display either impaired fasting glucose/glucose intolerance or overt diabetes. However, the pathophysiologic basis of this association remains largely unexplained. Methods: In this case-control study we aimed to study the morphological changes in the islets of patients with PC, compared to control patients with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). T2DM controls and PC cases had a lower β-cell area and average islet size and density compared to non-T2DM controls (p < 0.05). Results: Compared to both T2DM and non-T2DM controls, mean α-cell area was significantly lower and β/α-ratio was higher in PC cases (p < 0.05). Furthermore, whereas islets in T2DM controls were characterized by disrupted islet architecture and presence of islet amyloid aggregates, islet composition in PC islets was not significantly different compared to non-T2DM controls (p > 0.05 vs. Control). Conclusions: Our data shows that PC is associated with a unique pattern of islet pathology characterized by preserved architecture, absence of amyloid aggregates, and relative α-cell loss indicating that distinct mechanisms are likely involved in the pathophysiology of islet failure in PC-induced DM. Insights into the mechanisms mediating β-cell failure in PC can be important for our understanding of pathophysiology of PC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-935
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Endocrine pancreatopathy
  • Islet morphmetrics
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology


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