Cancer is a disease that is thought to begin as a result of one or more mutations in the DNA of our cells. In the past, pancreatic cancer researchers typically concentrated on a limited number of mutations on perhaps four to eight known gene culprits. Now, a comprehensive listing of genetic mutations in cancer of the pancreas (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) has been published in the journal Nature on November 15, 2012 by a large consortium of Australian, North American and European researchers (including two of our Pancreatica Science Board members, Drs. Hruban and Tempero).
This study is a milestone in pancreatic cancer research that looked at tumors in 142 pancreatic cancer patients. Intensive analysis of 99 tumors found 16 significantly mutated genes with 2,016 identified mutations and many other genetic variations. This included alterations not previously understood to be involved in pancreatic cancer. This new information and understanding gained directly from human subjects (for the first time) looks to open a doorway to an expanded era in treatment targets in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
Dale O’Brien, MD