Oncogenes Associated with Pancreatic Cancer

Cancerous cells overexpress normal or mutated proteins derived from one or more of the 5000 genes involved in cell proliferation (17). Such genes are called proto-oncogenes (18). The implication is that the targets that must be attacked in pancreatic cancer cells are normal cellular genes that have sustained an activating lesion. K-RAS, CCND1, HER2, and MYC oncogenes, as well as the tumor suppressor p53, are frequently mutated or overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells. Oncogene-targeted antisense DNA sequences specifically downregulate K-RAS (19), CCNDI(20), HER2 (19,21), MYC (22-25), and p53 (26,27), inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. Thus, we hypothesize that mutated or overexpressed K-RAS, CCND1, HER2, MYC, and p53 mRNAs are significant markers of oncogenic transformation that we may utilize to identify cancerous masses in the asymptomatic pancreas by external scintigraphic imaging.

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