Viewpoints / Position Papers

Home Research Strategic Research Program Pancreatic Cancer News Viewpoints / Position Papers

Research in the News

Important genetic changes in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center collaborated to publish a study in the prestigious journal Science in January 2011. Contributors to this paper include Anirban Maitra, PhD, recipient of a 2004 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network -- AACR Career Development Award, and Ralph Hruban, MD, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Scientific Advisory Board member. This work focuses on identifying key genetic changes in a rare form of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic neuroendocrine (also known as islet cell) cancer.

For more information about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, please click here. These tumors represent less than five percent of all pancreatic cancer diagnoses, and typically have a longer survival rate than the more commonly diagnosed form, pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Genetic analyses of 68 pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors revealed that mutations in three genes were significant to patient survival. Researchers found that when the genes MEN-1, DAXX, and ATRX were mutated, patients lived approximately ten years after diagnosis. By contrast, about 60 percent of patients without those mutations passed away within five years of diagnosis. This knowledge can enhance scientists’ focus on developing novel therapeutics tailored specifically for individual patients’ genetic changes.

In addition, these studies showed that another gene, mTOR, is mutated in 14 percent of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. There are clinically available drugs that target mTOR, suggesting that these treatment options may be effective for specific pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer patients. Further clinical trials are necessary.

Click here for a link to the scientific abstract.

Click here for the Johns Hopkins press release regarding this study.

For more information about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, or other questions related to pancreatic cancer treatment or diagnosis, please contact a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Patient and Liaison Services (PALS) Associate toll-free at 877-272-6226 or email PALS Associates are available M-F 7am-5pm Pacific Time.

Wage Hope With Us

Join us to make a difference for pancreatic cancer patients.

shop purple logo

Gear, apparel, accessories and more to show off your purple pride.

Shop Now 

©2020 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network®, PanCAN®, PurpleStride®, Wage Hope®, Know Your Tumor®, Powerful Knowledge. Personal Treatment.®, Precision Promise℠ and Demand Better For Patients. For Survival.℠ are the trademarks of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is registered as a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Contributions to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s tax identification number is #33-0841281.