Context: The introduction of genome- and epigenome-wide screening techniques has dramatically improved our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of pancreatic cancer. There are now 3 recognized histologic precursors of pancreatic cancer: pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, and mucinous cystic neoplasm. Each of these precursor lesions is associated with specific molecular alterations.
Objective: To understand the molecular characteristics of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and its precursor lesions.
Data sources: PubMed (US National Library of Medicine).
Conclusions: In this review, we briefly summarize recent research findings on the genetics and epigenetics of pancreatic cancer. In addition, we characterize these molecular alterations in the context of the histologic subtypes of pancreatic cancer.