Molecular alterations in pancreatic tumors

World J Gastroenterol. 2021 Jun 7;27(21):2710-2726. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i21.2710.


Genetic alterations in pancreatic tumors can usually be classified in: (1) Mutational activation of oncogenes; (2) Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes; and (3) Inactivation of genome maintenance genes controlling the repair of DNA damage. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration has improved pre-operative diagnosis, but the management of patients with a pancreatic lesion is still challenging. Molecular testing could help mainly in solving these "inconclusive" specimens. The introduction of multi-gene analysis approaches, such as next-generation sequencing, has provided a lot of useful information on the molecular characterization of pancreatic tumors. Different types of pancreatic tumors (e.g., pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, solid pseudopapillary tumors) are characterized by specific molecular alterations. The aim of this review is to summarize the main molecular alterations found in pancreatic tumors.

Keywords: Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm; Molecular alterations; Molecular markers; Mutations; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas; Pancreatic tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / genetics
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Oncogenes
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / genetics