Pancreatic cancer is among the leading causes of cancer death. Although a genetic profile for pancreatic cancer is emerging, many biological aspects of this disease are poorly understood. Indeed, fundamental questions regarding progenitor cell lineages, host stromal milieu, and the role of specific genetic alterations in tumor progression remain unresolved. A mouse model engineered with signature mutations would provide a powerful ally in the study of pancreatic cancer biology and may guide improved prognostic assessment and treatment for the human disease. In this review, we discuss the molecular basis for normal pancreatic development and the genetics of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma in the hope of charting a course for the development of a faithful mouse model for this lethal cancer.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.