Carcinoma With Osteoclast-Like Giant Cells Treatment Options

  • Afifah Aslam Doctor of Pharmacy - Pharm D, Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan
  • Drew Gallagher B.Sc. Biomedical Science, University of Manchester, UK


Overview of carcinoma with osteoclast-like giant cells

Carcinoma along with osteoclast-like giant cells are commonly abbreviated as (UC-OGC). It is an undifferentiated carcinoma because it is a form of pancreatic anaplastic cancer. Random case reports from throughout the world show that less than 1% of all exocrine pancreatic cancers are UC-OGC and are considered as a scarce form of traditional pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. They usually commence in epithelial cells and move to several layers of cells such as mesenchymal. UC-OGC contains both types of cellular components i.e. multi-nucleated and ovoid-shaped mononuclear cells.1 Undifferentiated carcinomas of the pancreas further divided into two types: sarcomatoid carcinoma and carcinosarcoma.2

Importance of understanding treatment options

Cancer is a complicated illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is crucial to research cancer and its treatments in order to lessen the negative effects of an increase in cancer incidence. The primary goal of cancer treatment is to cure the illness, followed by palliation (life extension and suffering reduction) in cases when a cure is impossible owing to advanced disease.3 Your therapy choices will rely upon a few variables, like the sort and phase of your disease, your overall well-being, and your inclinations. To choose the best cancer treatment for you, you and your doctor can weigh the benefits and risks of each. There are several methods of treatment which include surgical approaches, palliative care, and systemic and adjuvant therapy.

Diagnosis and staging

Diagnostic methods and criteria

There are numerous diagnostic procedures for pancreatic cancer. Not all tests depicted here will be utilised for each individual. When choosing a diagnostic test, your doctor may take into consideration the following: age, cancer type, patient’s health and medical history.4

1). General test includes physical examination such that patients with UC-OGC felt abdominal pain and weight loss and sometimes there is a presence of jaundice as well. Presence of mass lesions or buildup of fluid in abdomen are also some important signs. Health care professional also go for some blood test like levels of specific tumour markers (most common gene that undergo in mutation is KRAS in tumours related to pancreas) and bilirubin level as this chemical level are higher in patients with pancreatic cancer.4

2). Imaging test are used to evaluate the body’s inside changes and it includes the following:

  • Computed tomography (CT Scan): It is used to check the tumour’s size, origin or whether it is metastasized or not. To achieve the better results contrast medium is used which is a dye used in the form of a pill, solution or injectable4,5
  • Positron emission tomography (PET scan): It is combinedly used with CT scan or sometimes with MRI (magnetic imaging resonance). In PET there is a use of radioactive substances commonly called tracers which helps to make the multi-colored appearance of tissues and organs involved in tumour
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): In this magnetic field is used to measure the size of tumour and a contrast medium is also used in this process5
  • Endoscopy retrograde cholangiopancreatography: In this an endoscope contain a catheter is passed through the mouth to intestine and a dye is used to evaluate the condition of bile and pancreatic duct. During this procedure the patient is unconscious4
  • Ultrasound: In this procedure there is a use of sound waves which helps to make appearances of internal organs. It is of 2 categories such as Transabdominal ultrasound (device is placed outside of the abdomen) and Endoscopic ultrasound (use of endoscopic procedure in catheter and dye is used)5
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography: In this dye is injected by using a needle and by performing x-rays healthcare professionals figure out the blockage in the duct

3). Biopsy: Most tumours are diagnosed by removing a tissue and examined in a microscope.4,5

Staging systems

Normally the staging system is used to describe the origin of cancer also if the cancer is spread to other parts of the body or not. Staging system helps the doctors to evaluate the best treatment for a patient. Several system or categories are used to stage the pancreatic cancer are discussed below.8

  • Resectable: In this tumour is present in pancreas so it can be removed by surgery primarily
  • Borderline resectable: In this surgical treatment is not much to help so first we should go for other treatment options like radiation or chemotherapy which helps to lessen the worse condition of tumour after that surgery is done to completely eradicate the tumour8
  • Locally advanced: In this the tumour is still present in the pancreas but can’t be removed by the surgical procedure because the tumour is in the growing state so there is a risk that surgery can damage the nearby structures
  • Metastatic: It is a stage which is mostly found in the patients as in this stage the tumour is spread to other parts of the body8
  • TNM staging system: American joint committee on cancer described this system which comprises three most essential components. T stands for Tumourwhich explains the size and how much the tumour spread from the pancreas to nearby tissues. N stands for lymph nodes, whether the tumour spreads to lymph nodes or not and how many lymph nodes are involved in it. M stands for metastasized which evaluates that is the cancer spread to distant organs of the body7

Surgical treatment

Resection as primary treatment

Surgical resection of a tumour is an option for many types of cancer, and it is a common treatment option for cancer. The objective of medical procedure is to eliminate the whole growth or however much of the cancer as could be expected. While some tumours are simple to remove, others may be difficult. This procedure can be used as before or after the other treatment strategies and can also be used as the only treatment option.9 In UC-OGC surgery is a first choice of treatment and the effectiveness of chemo and radiation therapy is not very much explained due to its rarity.18

Surgical approaches

Following approaches are used for the eradication of pancreatic cancer according to its size and location.12

  • Laparoscopy: In this procedure the patient is unconscious and minute incisions are made to remove the tumour and used to evaluate if the tumour is spread to other parts or not by the help of a camera
  • Distal Pancreatectomy: In this the tail and body are removed where the tumour is present in the pancreas also the spleen is removed12
  • Total Pancreatectomy: In this whole pancreas should be removed as the tumour is spread to complete the organ with the pancreas there is a removal of some nearby parts as well such as gallbladder, spleen, stomach along with some portions of small intestine. Complications occur after this procedure as the patient becomes no longer capable of producing enzymes which are essential for other metabolic processes
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy: This procedure also referred to as Whipple procedure in which an eradication of the head of pancreas takes place along with nearby organs of the digestive tract. As it’s a very complex procedure so complications after operation occur11

Lymph node dissection

It is a surgical procedure which is also called lymphadenectomy in which dissection of lymph nodes takes place and this sample is analyzed under the microscope to check the presence of malignancy in the tumour. This dissection procedure is additionally partitioned into two types such as regional and radical. In regional areas there is a dissection of some of the lymph nodes in the area of tumour while in radical there is an eradication of total or all lymph nodes. Presence of tumour in lymph nodes suggests the advanced stage of metastasis. There is some complication can also take place i.e. pain, lymphedema, swelling and infection at the site of surgery.10

Complications and management

After surgical procedure there is an occurrence of some complication takes place such as bleeding, infection, gastric emptying time is delayed so antibiotics are given in the patient’s drip also dietary changes are made to resolve constipations and other gastric issues. Sometimes healthcare professional also suggest patient to take insulin and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy to cope with the complication of diabetes and other enzymatic related issues.13

Adjuvant therapy

In order to decrease the likelihood of your cancer returning, adjuvant therapy is frequently administered following primary treatments like surgery. Regardless of whether your medical procedure was effective at eliminating all noticeable malignant growth, minuscule pieces of disease once in a while remain and are imperceptible with momentum techniques. When adjuvant treatment given before the fundamental treatment is called neoadjuvant treatment. This sort of adjuvant treatment can likewise diminish the opportunity of the malignant growth returning, and make the essential therapy — like an activity or radiation therapy — simpler or more viable. Treatment strategies which are used as adjuvant therapy are as follows:14


In this treatment strategy the doctor utilizes drugs which are used to destroy the cancer cells and it can be given orally or intravenously in the form of single or in combination regimens. This therapy is also used in combination with radiation treatment and are called CHEMORADIATION. Chemotherapy causes some side effects although not every patient experiences the same one. These side effects include:

  • loss of appetite
  • hair loss
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • mouth rash
  • GI problems
  • decrease in various cell counts as well due to which chances of anemia
  • infection and bleeding increases

The drugs which are approved to use in pancreatic cancer treatment include the following:

  • Capecitabine
  • Fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Gemcitabine
  • Irinotecan
  • Leucovorin
  • Nab-paclitaxel
  • Nanoliposomal irinotecan
  • Oxaliplatin15

Radiation therapy

High energy x-rays are used in this therapy due to which cancer cells become destroyed. External beam radiation is most commonly used in which radiations are transmitted from outside the body through a machine. Different ways used to give this therapy includes: Traditional radiation therapy (comprising everyday therapies of lower dosages of radiation). Stereotactic body radiation (it has shorter and lesser duration of therapies with higher doses). Proton beam therapy (in this high energy levels of protons are used due to which cancer cells are destroyed. Side effects which is caused by the radiation therapy are nausea, stomach discomfort and skin reaction due to receiving radiation.15

Targeted therapy and immunotherapy

Targeted therapy works by pointing to some specific genes or proteins which are involved in the growth of a tumour. Erlotinib, Olaparib, Larotrectinib and Entrectinib are the drugs which work by inhibiting specific protein in a specific pancreatic cancer.15 while Immunotherapy works with your body's insusceptible framework to ward off any excess disease cells by activating your body's own safeguards or enhancing them. PD-1 or PD-L1 monoclonal counteracting agent treatment has exhibited promising remedial impacts in clinical investigations of a few malignant growth types.4

Palliative care

It is a specific clinical consideration that spotlights on giving help from torment and different side effects of a difficult disease like cancer. Additionally, it may assist you in coping with treatment-related side effects. The purpose of this care is to improve the patient’s quality of life. It includes the following:16

Symptom management

Your palliative consideration plan will incorporate moves toward address your side effects and work on your solace and prosperity. The consideration group will respond to questions you might have regarding your side effects and effects of medication on your disease.

Supportive care

In this health professional team also gives support to the patient and his/her family in making decisions in difficult situations. In life threatening diseases patients require mental, physical, and emotional support as they face consequences such as depression, distress, anxiety and so on.

Psychosocial support

It is used to cope with the circumstances that occur during cancer treatment. This support can be achieved by taking counseling, by this patient and its family can understand their emotions and can talk with ease about their worries with a counselor. A counselor could be any of these i.e. a psychiatrist, psychologist or may be an oncologist social worker etc.16

Prognosis and follow-up

Medicinally, prognosis might be characterized as the possibility of recuperating from injury or infection, or an expectation of the course and result of an ailment. The prognosis plays a crucial role not only in selecting the appropriate course of treatment but also in gaining the perspectives of patients or their loved ones regarding treatment. In the event that the guess for development or saving a life is extremely poor, a patient or the family members might pick the surgical procedure.17

Prognostic factors

It includes tumour grade, size, stage, radiological findings, type of tumour, place at which tumour is present, involvement of lymph nodes and level of metastasis (spread) at the hour of conclusion. The earliest pancreatic malignant growth is analyzed and treated, the better the forecast. Tragically, pancreatic malignant growth as a rule shows next to zero side effects until it has progressed and spread.16 Also UC-OGC is a very rare type of pancreatic cancer so its prognosis is very poor.18

Follow-up and surveillance

Care for individuals determined to have pancreatic disease doesn't end when dynamic treatment has wrapped up. Your medical services group will keep on making sure that the disease has not returned, deal with any secondary effects, and screen your general wellbeing. This is called follow-up care.

Regular physical examinations and/or medical and imaging tests may be part of your follow-up care. Specialists need to monitor your recuperation in the long stretches of time to come. The oncologist typically recommends follow-up visits every three to six months for people who have had surgery. Blood tests, including observing liver and kidney capability and the growth marker CA 19-9, might be finished during these visits. For individuals with metastatic pancreatic malignant growth, a processed tomography (CT) filter or other imaging may likewise be utilized every certain period of months after standard treatment starts to assess treatment viability.19

Long-term management

Its objective is to keep a check on the recurrence of the disease. Certain individuals might have blood tests or imaging tests done as a component of normal subsequent consideration. Some aftereffects are called late impacts which might foster months or even a very long time after treatment has finished. Long haul and late impacts can incorporate both physical and sentimental changes. In the event that you had a treatment known to cause explicit late impacts, you might have specific actual assessments, outputs, or blood tests to help find and oversee them on regular basis in long term management.19


Pancreatic cancer nowadays referred as a worldwide issue which is growing on a fast pace and its most common type is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma whose cases are increasing frequently but there are some rare variants of this carcinoma is also present, one of them is carcinoma with osteoclast like giant cells in an undifferentiated manner (UC-OGC). Many studies show (UC-OGC) rarity and poor prognosis so many clinical trials and demonstrations are still in continuation to find-out the best treatment regarding this tumour condition. There are a number of diagnostic procedures are available which include blood test, testing of tumour markers, different imaging test and scans with biopsy procedure as well.

After diagnosis it is very important to evaluate the stage of your tumour before starting any treatment strategy and for this TNM staging system is most commonly used for different cancer conditions. There is an availability of several treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer like surgery (resection), radiotherapy, target and immunotherapy but according to some case reports of (UC-OGC) surgery is the best choice of treatment also there is a use of some chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy is studied in some cases as well.

The effectiveness of other treatment strategies still need to be studied for best results. Regardless of the presence of any curative strategy, palliative care is needed to all patients who are involved in such life-threatening diseases. Follow-up and long-term management are necessary to keep a check on the patient’s condition as cancer can be recur at any stage of the life if not fully eradicated.


  1. Sah SK, Li Y, Li Y. Undifferentiated carcinoma of the pancreas with osteoclast-like giant cells: a rare case report and review of the literature. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology. 2015;8(9):11785.
  2. Sakhi R, Hamza A, Khurram MS, Ibrar W, Mazzara P. Undifferentiated carcinoma of the pancreas with osteoclast-like giant cells reported in an asymptomatic patient: a rare case and literature review. Autopsy & Case Reports. 2017 Oct;7(4):51.
  3. Khan FA, Akhtar SS, Sheikh MK. Cancer Treatment - Objectives and Quality of Life Issues. The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences: MJMS [Internet]. 2005 Jan 1;12(1):3–5. Available from:
  4. Pancreatic Cancer - Diagnosis [Internet]. 2012. Available from:
  5. Deng Y, Wang Y, Zhang Y, Yang N, Ji X, Wu B. Undifferentiated hepatic carcinoma with osteoclast-like giant cells: A case report and literature review. Frontiers in Oncology. 2023 Jan 9;12:1018617.
  6. Pancreatic Cancer Stages [Internet]. Available from:
  7. Pancreatic Cancer - Stages [Internet]. 2012. Available from:
  8. Tumor Resection Surgery [Internet]. Temple Health. Available from:
  9. Mulita F, Lotfollahzadeh S, Mukkamalla SK. Lymph Node Dissection. InStatPearls [Internet] 2022 Jul 17. StatPearls Publishing.
  10. BACHMANN J, MICHALSKI CW, MARTIGNONI ME. Pancreatic resection for pancreatic cancer. HPB. 2006;8:346Á351.
  11. Pancreatic Cancer - Types of Treatment [Internet]. 2012. Available from:
  12. Pancreatectomy Surgery: Procedure, Types & Definition [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. Available from:
  14. Pancreatic Cancer - Types of Treatment [Internet]. 2012. Available from:
  15. Mayo Clinic. Palliative care - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. 2017. Available from:
  16. Hansebout RR, Cornacchi SD, Haines T, Goldsmith CH. How to use an article about prognosis. Canadian Journal of Surgery. 2009 Aug;52(4):328.
  17. Ashfaq A, Thalambedu N, Atiq MU. A Rare Case of Pancreatic Cancer: Undifferentiated Carcinoma of the Pancreas With Osteoclast-Like Giant Cells. Cureus. 2022 May 18;14(5).
  18. Pancreatic Cancer - Follow-Up Care [Internet]. 2012. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Afifah Aslam

Doctor of Pharmacy- Pharm D, Jinnah University for Women, Pakistan

Afifah Aslam is a dedicated pharmacist, passionate medical article writer and MBA candidate where she honoring her leadership and strategic skills to further elevate her career.

She embarked on a fulfilling career as a pharmacist, working diligently in various healthcare settings such as in Hospital and Retail sector. Her commitment to patient care, attention to detail, and innovative approach to pharmaceutical solutions made her a trusted figure.

However, her passion for research and desire to share her knowledge with a broader audience led her to the field of medical writing. Her journey exemplifies the power of adaptability, determination, and the pursuit of knowledge and her impact on the healthcare industry, both as a practitioner and a communicator, continues to inspire and shape the future of healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818