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Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;20(2):211-26.

Molecular pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Pathology, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Pancreatic cancer is fundamentally a disease of inherited and acquired mutations in cancer-related genes. The genes targeted in pancreatic cancer include tumor-suppressor genes (p16/CDKN2A, TP53 and SMAD4), oncogenes (KRAS, BRAF, AKT2, MYB, and AIB1), and genome-maintenance genes (MLH1, MSH2, BRAC2 and other Fanconi anemia genes). An understanding of the cancer-related genes that are altered in pancreatic cancer has a number of clinical applications including genetic counseling for individuals with a family history of cancer, early detection of pancreatic neoplasia, and mechanism-based therapies for patients with advanced disease. This chapter will provide an overview of the molecular pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer with emphasis on clinical applications.

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