Pathology and molecular genetics of pancreatic neoplasms

Cancer J. Nov-Dec 2012;18(6):492-501. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31827459b6.


Cancer is fundamentally a genetic disease caused by the accumulation of somatic mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. In the last decade, rapid advances in sequencing and bioinformatic technology led to an explosion in sequencing studies of cancer genomes, greatly expanding our knowledge of the genetic changes underlying a variety of tumor types. Several of these studies of cancer genomes have focused on pancreatic neoplasms, and cancers from the pancreas are some of the best characterized tumors at the genetic level. Pancreatic neoplasms encompass a wide array of clinical diseases, from benign cysts to deadly cancers, and the genetic alterations underlying neoplasms of the pancreas are similarly diverse. This new knowledge of pancreatic cancer genomes has deepened our understanding of tumorigenesis in the pancreas and has opened several promising new avenues for novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Oncogenes
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*