We herein summarize the pathology and most recent advances in the molecular genetics of serous cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. They typically present as relatively large, wel-ldemarcated tumors (mean size, 6 cm), predominantly occurring in females. Pre-operative diagnosis remains challenging; imaging findings and cyst fluid analysis often prove nonspecific and fine-needle aspiration often does not yield diagnostic cells. Pathologically, they are characterized by a distinctive cytology referred to as "serous." Although they have ductal differentiation, they distinctly lack the mucin production that characterizes most other pancreatic ductal tumors, including ductal adenocarcinoma and its variants, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and mucinous cystic neoplasm (MCN). They instead produce abundant glycogen (glycogen-rich adenoma). Serous cystadenomas also lack the molecular alterations that characterize ductal neoplasms, such as mutation of KRAS (high prevalence in most mucinous ductal neoplasms), inactivation of SMAD4 (seen in ductal adenocarcinomas), and mutations in GNAS (seen in some IPMNs) and RNF43 (detected in MCNs and IPMNs). Instead, new molecular and immunohistochemical observations place serous pancreatic tumors closer to "clear cell neoplasms': seen in various other organs that are associated with the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) pathway, such as clear cell renal cell carcinomas and capillary hemangioblastomas. Patients with VHL syndrome have an increased risk of developing serous pancreatic tumors and somatic mutations of the VHL gene are common in these tumors along with modification of its downstream effectors including hypoxia-inducible factor (HIFI), glucose uptake and transporter-1 (GLUT-1), a common factor in clear cell (glycogen-rich) tumors, as well as expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thought to be a factor in the striking capillarization of serous cystadenomas and other non-pancreatic clear cell tumors. VEGF may prove to be of significant diagnostic value since its elevation in cyst fluid has recently been found highly sensitive and specific for serous neoplasms. These molecular alterations establish serous tumors as prototypes of clear cell tumorigenesis and angiogenesis and may prove helpful both as diagnostic and non-surgical therapeutic targets. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.