Today, researchers from the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) published a pivotal study in the prestigious journal Nature that describes molecular changes observed in samples from 456 pancreatic cancer patients, the largest data set analyzed anywhere in the world to date.

Based on the changes discovered, the authors defined four subtypes of pancreatic cancer – and these subtypes can be critically important when determining the best treatment options for each patient.

The APGI team was joined by collaborators from around the world, including several of our research grant recipients and Scientific and Medical Advisory Board members. This study builds upon previous findings, also published in Nature, which analyzed genetic changes in 100 pancreatic cancer patient samples.

In order for normal cells of any organ, like the pancreas, to become cancerous, a series of genetic changes need to take place. This study and other research findings have revealed unexpected diversity in the type and frequency of changes that can lead to pancreatic tumor formation. Scrutinizing the changes leading to these 456 patients’ tumors revealed commonalities that allowed the research team to define four subtypes of the disease – four categories that patients can fall into based on the molecular changes evident in their tumors.

Importantly, personalized medicine efforts like our Know Your TumorSM program capitalize on these very changes in order to determine the ideal treatment options for patients, based on each tumor’s molecular profile. For example, the research team identified a subtype, termed “immunogenic,” which includes patients whose tumors may be best treated by immunotherapy approaches.

“Our Know Your Tumor program provides patients access to molecular profiling followed by expert review,” commented Lynn Matrisian, PhD, MBA, vice president of scientific and medical affairs. “Findings like those published in Nature provide more knowledge to help devise the best treatment plan in alignment with each patient’s tumor’s characteristics.”

For more information about Know Your Tumor and other patient services, please contact PanCAN Patient Services Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PDT, at 877.573.9971, or complete our contact form.