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Pathology and Molecular Genetics of Pancreatic Neoplasms

Wood, Laura D. MD, PhD; Hruban, Ralph H. MD

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.

From the Department of Pathology, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Conflicts of Interest and Sources of Funding: R.H.H. receives royalty payments from Myriad Genetics for the PalB2 invention. L.D.W. declares no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Ralph H. Hruban, MD, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 401 N Broadway, Weinberg 2242, Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail:

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.