A 46 year old white man presented with subcutaneous and intramedullary fat necrosis, destructive polyarthritis, and osteolytic bone lesions, complicating a poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma of the tail of the pancreas with metastases in the liver and omentum. There was a 100-fold increase in serum lipase and trypsin activity. His condition deteriorated rapidly, was characterised by rapid tumour growth, formation of ascites, a 20 kg weight loss, extensive subcutaneous fat necrosis, and fistula formation in the left calf. Treatment with 5-fluorouracil 300 mg/m2 on days 1-5 and doxorubicin 50 mg/m2 and cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on day 1, every three weeks, was well tolerated and resulted in rapid clinical improvement. After three courses of treatment a partial remission was seen and after seven courses further improvement occurred with a return to normal of serum lipase and trypsin activity. One year after starting chemotherapy the tumour relapsed but responded again to chemotherapy (epirubicin 40 mg/m2 and carboplatin 300 mg/m2 on day 1, every three weeks).
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