The molecular basis of pancreatic cancer is not understood. Previous attempts to determine the specific genes expressed in pancreatic cancer have been hampered by similarities between adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis. In the current study, microarrays (Affymetrix) were used to profile gene expression in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (10), pancreatic cancer cell lines (7), chronic pancreatitis (5), and normal pancreas (5). Molecular profiling indicated a large number of genes differentially expressed between pancreatic cancer and normal pancreas but many fewer differences between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis, likely because of the shared stromal influences in the two diseases. To specifically identify genes expressed in neoplastic epithelium, we selected genes more highly expressed (>2-fold, p < 0.01) in adenocarcinoma compared with both normal pancreas and chronic pancreatitis and which were also highly expressed in pancreatic cancer cell lines. This strategy yielded 158 genes, of which 124 were not previously associated with pancreatic cancer. Quantitative-reverse transcription-PCR for two molecules, S100P and 14-3-3sigma, validated the microarray data. Support for the success of the neoplastic cell gene expression identification strategy was obtained by immunocytochemical localization of four representative genes, 14-3-3sigma, S100P, S100A6, and beta4 integrin, to neoplastic cells in pancreatic tumors. Thus, comparisons between pancreatic adenocarcinoma, pancreatic cancer cell lines, normal pancreas, and chronic pancreatitis have identified genes that are selectively expressed in the neoplastic epithelium of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. These data provide new insights into the molecular pathology of pancreatic cancer that may be useful for detection, diagnosis, and treatment.