The expression of the Wilms' tumor gene WT1 was examined by immunohistochemistry in 40 cases of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. WT1 protein was expressed in 30 (75%) of the 40 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas, but not in the remaining 10 (25%). In normal pancreatic ductal cells, WT1 protein was undetectable. No correlations between WT1 expression and clinicopathological parameters such as age, sex, T or N stage, tumor location, and tumor differentiation were observed. Treatment with WT1 antisense oligomers significantly inhibited the growth of five human pancreatic cancer cell lines, PSN1, MiaPaCa2, ASPC1, BxPC3, and PCI6, expressing the WT1 gene. These results indicate an important role of the WT1 gene in the tumorigenesis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma expressing WT1 and provide a rationale for new treatment strategies to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma by targeting the WT1 gene and its product.