Genetics of pancreatic cyst-cancer progression: standing on the shoulders of giants

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Pancreatic cancer, despite years of study and some progress, presents with a grim prognosis in almost all cases. In the current review, we have discussed recent studies that have attempted to decipher the genetic makeup of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and preneoplastic pancreatic cystic neoplasms.

Recent findings

With the advent of high throughput sequencing, the genetic code of pancreatic cancer is beginning to unravel and this new-found information heralds an era of precision cancer care where treatment will be guided by the genetic code of the neoplasm. Results from these studies have pointed towards the complexity and heterogeneity of the pancreatic cancer genome, provided avenues to “tailor therapy” based as well as shed light on progression of preneoplastic pancreatic neoplasms into full blown invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Summary

While this progress has made us closer to the model of precision medicine, significant obstacles need to be overcome to use this new-found information to change the way we manage patients with pancreatic cancer.

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