Molecular pathology of pancreatic cancer

Cancer J. Jul-Aug 2001;7(4):251-8.


Until recently, pancreatic cancer was a poorly understood disease. Research in the past decade has shown conclusively, however, that pancreatic cancer is primarily genetic in nature. Inactivation with a variety of tumor-suppressor genes such as p16, DPC4, and p53, coupled with activation of oncogenes such as K-ras, are a few of the mutations that trigger the growth of cancerous cells. Understanding these mutations is critical to a better understanding of familial pancreatic cancer and to the development of gene-based screening tests and therapies. In this article, we review the genetic alterations identified in pancreatic cancer and provide examples of how this information can be applied to patient care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Oncogenes / physiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • DNA, Mitochondrial