Epigenetics and its Applications to a Revised Progression Model of Pancreatic Cancer

  • Gwen Lomberk
  • Raul Urrutia
Reference work entry


Defined as heritable changes in gene expression, which are not due to any alteration in the DNA sequence, epigenetic pathways are coming to the forefront of research in disease, and in particular, cancer. In fact, these pathways are altered far more prevalently in cancer than genetic alterations and most importantly, can be reversible, lending themselves as attractive therapeutic targets.

This chapter will cover the basic aspects of transcriptional gene regulation, epigenetics and chromatin dynamics and then discuss the intricacies of its application to pancreatic cancer biology and potential therapeutics. In addition, we propose a revised model for better understanding pancreatic cancer to expand the highly provocative and productive “mutation centric” progression model, as defined by Hruban and colleagues, into a new model that formally includes chromatin-induced and miRNA-induced epigenetic changes, as well as other alterations that could be caused by changes in nuclear shape. We are optimistic that this model may serve as a compass for further studies aimed at illuminating the field of pancreatic cancer biology, diagnosis, therapeutics, and chemoprevention, in a similar, fruitful manner as the original model.


Pancreatic Cancer Chronic Pancreatitis Pancreatic Cancer Cell Line Histone Variant Nuclear Shape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Work in the author’s laboratory (R.U.) is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health DK 52913 and Mayo Clinic Pancreatic SPORE (P50 CA102701).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwen Lomberk
    • 1
  • Raul Urrutia
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Epigenetics and Chromatin Dynamics, Gastroenterology Research Unit, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine and Mayo Clinic Cancer CenterMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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