From What Cells Does Pancreatic Cancer Arise?

Now comes a fascinating study by researchers from UC San Francisco and UC San Diego that tends to refute the common knowledge that pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells arise from genetic mutations in the PANCREATIC DUCT LINING CELLS.

Published in the November 29th 2012 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, Dr. Maike Sander and colleagues have shown that NON-ductal “acinar” cells in the non-hormone aspect of the pancreas can be transformed into what appear to be precursor cells to “ductal adenocarcinoma” (now a misnomer?) under the influence of mutations of the ductal gene Sox9, as accelerated by an additional mutation in the Kras oncogene.

Additionally, the researchers appear to demonstrate that ductal cells themselves tend to be somewhat resistant to the influence of oncogene mutation. These results may give direction to future research for both the treatment and earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

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Dale O’Brien, MD