Editors' ChoiceCancer Biology

Netting Pancreatic Cancer Genes

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Sci. Signal.  08 Mar 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 163, pp. ec72
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4163ec72

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) are aggressive human cancers that often develop silently and progress to untreatable metastatic disease before diagnosis. Using an exome sequencing strategy to identify recurrent somatic mutations in PanNETs, Jiao et al. (see the Perspective by Elsässer et al.) find that the most commonly mutated genes, affecting nearly 45% of the tumors, encode proteins implicated in chromatin remodeling. About 15% of the tumors had mutations altering the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. mTOR inhibitors are already being tested as cancer therapies, so the mutational status of the PanNETs could help to identify which patients are most likely to respond to these drugs.

Y. Jiao, C. Shi, B. H. Edil, R. F. de Wilde, D. S. Klimstra, A. Maitra, R. D. Schulick, L. H. Tang, C. L. Wolfgang, M. A. Choti, V. E. Velculescu, L. A. Diaz Jr., B. Vogelstein, K. W. Kinzler, R. H. Hruban, N. Papadopoulos, DAXX/ATRX, MEN1, and mTOR pathway genes are frequently altered in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Science 331, 1199–1203 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

S. J. Elsässer, C. D. Allis, P. W. Lewis, New epigenetic drivers of cancers. Science 331, 1145–1146 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]