Pancreatic cancer is a disease caused by the accumulation of genetic alterations in specific genes. Elucidation of the human genome sequence, in conjunction with technical advances in the ability to perform whole exome sequencing, have provided new insight into the mutational spectra characteristic of this lethal tumour type. Most recently, exomic sequencing has been used to clarify the clonal evolution of pancreatic cancer as well as provide time estimates of pancreatic carcinogenesis, indicating that a long window of opportunity may exist for early detection of this disease while in the curative stage. Moving forward, these mutational analyses indicate potential targets for personalised diagnostic and therapeutic intervention as well as the optimal timing for intervention based on the natural history of pancreatic carcinogenesis and progression.
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