A "catastrophic hypothesis" for pancreas cancer progression

Gastroenterology. 2003 Jun;124(7):1958-64. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(03)00389-5.


Exocrine pancreas cancer has a dismal prognosis. The precise reasons accounting for its biological and clinical behavior are not known. A "catastrophe" takes place in the course of pancreas cancer development/progression so that, once it occurs, the evolution of the tumor is very rapid, leading to local invasion and metastasis. Up to now, such behavior cannot be conclusively ascribed to a single molecular event. If correct, this hypothesis has important implications regarding pancreas cancer research. Further work is warranted to examine this hypothesis and to identify the putative "catastrophic" elements participating in this tumor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, p53
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / etiology
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Trans-Activators / genetics


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • SMAD4 protein, human
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Trans-Activators