The role of epigenetic alterations in pancreatic cancer

Norihiro Sato, Michael Goggins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The past several years have witnessed an explosive increase in our knowledge about epigenetic features in human cancers. It has become apparent that pancreatic cancer is an epigenetic disease, as it is a genetic disease, characterized by widespread and profound alterations in DNA methylation. The introduction of genome-wide screening techniques has accelerated the discovery of a growing list of genes with abnormal methylation patterns in pancreatic cancer, and some of these epigenetic events play a role in the neoplastic process. The detection and quantification of DNA methylation alterations in pancreatic juice is likely a promising tool for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The potential reversibility of epigenetic changes in genes involved in tumor progression makes them attractive therapeutic targets, but the efficacy of epigenetic therapies in pancreatic cancer, such as the use of DNA methylation inhibitors, remains undetermined. In this review, we briefly summarize recent research findings in the field of pancreatic cancer epigenetics and discuss their biological and clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Epigenetics
  • Hypermethylation
  • Hypomethylation
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology


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