The sunset of somatic genetics and the dawn of epigenetics: a new frontier in pancreatic cancer research

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;24(5):597-602. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32830b111d.


Purpose of review: The excitement of finding a cancer modulator which is either mutated or deleted in vivo (genetics), unfortunately, is shadowed by the fact that we scientists have failed to live to the promise of gene therapy, and therefore, these genes cannot be replaced to cure the patients. On the contrary, both DNA methylation and chromatin-mediated inactivation of tumor suppressor genes (epigenetics), for example, are reversible as demonstrated by the relative success of emerging therapies. Therefore, epigenetics with its molecular basis (DNA methylation and chromatin modification) is among the most promising areas of cancer research and is a nascent field in pancreatic cancer research.

Recent findings: Here, we review and update novel findings on epigenetics as it applies to pancreatic cancer.

Summary: Special focus has been given to novel potential therapeutic targets and currently available drugs, which are emerging from this exciting new field of pancreatic cancer research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Forecasting
  • Genes, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Research / trends*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins