Basic principles and technologies for deciphering the genetic map of cancer

World J Surg. 2009 Apr;33(4):615-29. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9851-y.


The progress achieved in the field of genomics in recent years is leading medicine to adopt a personalized model in which the knowledge of individual DNA alterations will allow a targeted approach to cancer. Using pancreatic cancer as a model, we discuss herein the fundamentals that need to be considered for the high throughput and global identification of mutations. These include patient-related issues, sample collection, DNA isolation, gene selection, primer design, and sequencing techniques. We also describe the possible applications of the discovery of DNA changes to the approach of this disease and cite preliminary efforts where the knowledge has been translated into the clinical or preclinical setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Genes, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins