Background: Cancers of the pancreas originate from both the endocrine and exocrine elements of the organ, and represent a major cause of cancer-related death. This study provides a comprehensive assessment of gene expression for pancreatic tumors, the normal pancreas, and nonneoplastic pancreatic disease.
Methods/results: DNA microarrays were used to assess the gene expression for surgically derived pancreatic adenocarcinomas, islet cell tumors, and mesenchymal tumors. The addition of normal pancreata, isolated islets, isolated pancreatic ducts, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines enhanced subsequent analysis by increasing the diversity in gene expression profiles obtained. Exocrine, endocrine, and mesenchymal tumors displayed unique gene expression profiles. Similarities in gene expression support the pancreatic duct as the origin of adenocarcinomas. In addition, genes highly expressed in other cancers and associated with specific signal transduction pathways were also found in pancreatic tumors.
Conclusion: The scope of the present work was enhanced by the inclusion of publicly available datasets that encompass a wide spectrum of human tissues and enabled the identification of candidate genes that may serve diagnostic and therapeutic goals.