Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is characterized by a paucity of neoplastic cells embedded in a densely desmoplastic stroma. Therefore, laser capture microdissection was performed to obtain homogeneous populations of normal and neoplastic ductal cells. These were subjected to a comparative study of gene expression utilizing human cDNA arrays. A variety of dysregulated genes were identified, comprising cell cycle and growth regulators, invasion regulators, signalling and developmental molecules. In addition to genes already found to be overexpressed in pancreatic cancer, such as TIMP1, MMP7, CD59, rhoC and NDKA, we present evidence to implicate genes which have not previously been reported in this tumour type. These include the overexpressed genes ABL2, Notch4 and SOD1, as well as XRCC1, a DNA repair gene whose transcript was found downregulated. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (QRT-PCR) was employed to confirm differential expression of ABL2, Notch4 and SOD1 and immunohistochemical analysis was used to verify decreased protein expression of XRCC1 using a custom-built pancreatic tissue array. Combining microarray-derived gene expression profiles of pure pancreatic cell populations, QRT-PCR and pancreas-specific tissue arrays therefore proved to be highly informative in elucidating the molecular pathology of this highly malignant tumour type.