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Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine cancers. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, starts when exocrine cells, which form the exocrine glands and ducts in the pancreas, start to grow out of control

Types of pancreatic cancers

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer but Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), or islet cell tumors, are less common but tend to have a better outlook (prognosis).

Exocrine tumors include:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Ductal Adenocarcinoma
  • Acinar Adenocarcinoma

Endocrine tumors include:

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) or islet cell tumors. A pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor can be functioning or non functioning. A functioning tumor makes hormones. A non functioning tumor does not make hormones. A functioning neuroendocrine tumor is named based on the hormone the cells normally make. These include:

  • Insulinoma
  • Glucagonoma
  • Gastrinoma
  • Somatostatinoma
  • VIPomas
  • PPomas

Less common types of exocrine cancer: Other, less common exocrine cancers include adenosquamous carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, signet ring cell carcinomas, undifferentiated carcinomas, and undifferentiated carcinomas with giant cells.