The journal Nature just published a series of remarkable papers that integrate a number of large studies of the genetic (DNA) changes in a large number of cancer types. A number of faculty in the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center participated in these studies. For example, the paper "Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes," integrated 2,658 whole-cancer genomes (studies of all of the DNA changes) across 38 cancer types, including pancreatic cancer. The investigators used data from the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and found that the average cancer has 4 to 5 "driver" mutations (mutations that clearly promote cancer growth), and that "catastrophic" genetic events, called chromothripsis, are more common and occur earlier than previously thought. The driver mutations for pancreatic cancer are usually in the KRAS, TP53, SMAD4 and p16/CDKN2A genes. Large scale studies such as these that integrate multiple datasets can be powerful as they can detect subtle patterns that can be missed in smaller studies. To learn more visit the two links below.