High-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HG-PanIN) is the major precursor of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and is an ideal target for early detection. To characterize pure HG-PanIN, we analysed 23 isolated HG-PanIN lesions occurring in the absence of PDAC. Whole-exome sequencing of five of these HG-PanIN lesions revealed a median of 33 somatic mutations per lesion, with a total of 318 mutated genes. Targeted next-generation sequencing of 17 HG-PanIN lesions identified KRAS mutations in 94% of the lesions. CDKN2A alterations occurred in six HG-PanIN lesions, and RNF43 alterations in five. Mutations in TP53, GNAS, ARID1A, PIK3CA, and TGFBR2 were limited to one or two HG-PanINs. No non-synonymous mutations in SMAD4 were detected. Immunohistochemistry for p53 and SMAD4 proteins in 18 HG-PanINs confirmed the paucity of alterations in these genes, with aberrant p53 labelling noted only in three lesions, two of which were found to be wild-type in sequencing analyses. Sixteen adjacent LG-PanIN lesions from 10 patients were also sequenced using targeted sequencing. LG-PanIN harboured KRAS mutations in 94% of the lesions; mutations in CDKN2A, TP53, and SMAD4 were not identified. These results suggest that inactivation of TP53 and SMAD4 are late genetic alterations, predominantly occurring in invasive PDAC.