Pancreatic cancer years in the making

Decade elapses from first mutation to tumor formation, and years more until the disease spreads

By Nathan Seppa, 12:23 PM October 27, 2010

The lead time for cancer of the pancreas to develop is extensive, possibly opening up a decade-long window of opportunity for doctors to someday screen for and remove tumors on this vital organ, a study in the Oct. 28 Nature shows. A companion study finds unusual chromosomal rearrangements in this deadly cancer, a characteristic that might provide insights into the cancer formation process.

Scientists have puzzled over the deadly nature of pancreatic cancer, in which fewer than 5 percent of...

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