Special Issue "Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694). This special issue belongs to the section "Cancer Therapy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2022) | Viewed by 40703

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Sumit Sahni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2037, Australia
Interests: pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; biomarkers; tumour microenvironment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Anubhav Mittal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Interests: pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, surgery, post-surgical complications, prognostic biomarkers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Jaswinder Samra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Interests: pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, surgery, neoadjuvant chemotherapy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit either original research or review articles for this Special Issue on “Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC)”. The journal has an impact factor of 6.639, and you are receiving this letter as a personal invitation on behalf of one of the editors.
This Special Issue will focus on the recent advances in the field of PDAC research. The topics will include but are not limited to advances in (1) pancreatic cancer surgery, especially around the equipoise of laparoscopic/robotic vs. open resections, arterial resections, and surgical management of stage 4 PDAC; (2) diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in blood, urine, and/or tissues; (3) the pancreatic tumor microenvironment; (4) chemotherapy in neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative settings; (5) radiotherapy or radio/chemotherapy; (6) postsurgical complications; (7) novel targeted therapies; (8) immunotherapy; and (9) pancreatic tumor microbiome.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Dr Sumit Sahni
Dr Anubhav Mittal
Prof Dr. Jaswinder Samra
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Cancers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • pancreatoduodenectomy
  • distal pancreatectomy
  • neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • biomarkers
  • postsurgical complications
  • targeted therapies
  • tumor microenvironment

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Published Papers (30 papers)

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Research

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Article
Induction of Apoptosis in Human Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells by the Endoplasmic Reticulum-Targeted Alkylphospholipid Analog Edelfosine and Potentiation by Autophagy Inhibition
Cancers 2021, 13(23), 6124; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13236124 - 05 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 717
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignancies with a poor and gloomy prognosis and the highest mortality-to-incidence ratio. Pancreatic cancer remains an incurable malignancy, and current therapies are ineffective. We isolated cancer stem cells (CSCs) from the human PANC-1 pancreatic cancer [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignancies with a poor and gloomy prognosis and the highest mortality-to-incidence ratio. Pancreatic cancer remains an incurable malignancy, and current therapies are ineffective. We isolated cancer stem cells (CSCs) from the human PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cell line as CD44+CD24+EpCAM+ cells. These CSCs form pancreatic cancer spheres or spheroids and develop tumors in SCID mice after subcutaneous injection of as few as 100 cells per mouse. Here, we found that the alkylphospholipid analog edelfosine inhibited CSC pancreatic cancer spheroid formation and induced cell death, as assessed by an increase in the percentage of cells in the sub-G0/G1 region by means of flow cytometry, indicative of DNA breakdown and apoptosis. This correlated with an increase in caspase-3 activity and PARP breakdown, as a major substrate of caspase-3, following PANC-1 CSC treatment with edelfosine. The antitumor ether lipid edelfosine colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum in both PANC-1 cells as well as PANC-1 CSCs by using a fluorescent edelfosine analog, and induced an endoplasmic reticulum stress response in both PANC-1 cells and PANC-1 CSCs, with a potent CHOP/GADD153 upregulation. Edelfosine elicited a strong autophagy response in both PANC-1 cells and PANC-1 CSCs, and preincubation of CSCs with autophagy inhibitors, chloroquine or bafilomycin A1, enhanced edelfosine-induced apoptosis. Primary cultures from pancreatic cancer patients were sensitive to edelfosine, as well as their respective isolated CSCs. Nontumorigenic pancreatic human cell line HPNE and normal human fibroblasts were largely spared. These data suggest that pancreatic CSCs isolated from established cell lines and pancreatic cancer patients are sensitive to edelfosine through its accumulation in the endoplasmic reticulum and induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Zebrafish Patient-Derived Xenografts Identify Chemo-Response in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Patients
Cancers 2021, 13(16), 4131; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164131 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
It is increasingly evident the necessity of new predictive tools for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in a personalized manner. We present a co-clinical trial testing the predictiveness of zPDX (zebrafish patient-derived xenograft) for assessing if patients could benefit from a therapeutic [...] Read more.
It is increasingly evident the necessity of new predictive tools for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in a personalized manner. We present a co-clinical trial testing the predictiveness of zPDX (zebrafish patient-derived xenograft) for assessing if patients could benefit from a therapeutic strategy (ClinicalTrials.gov: XenoZ, NCT03668418). zPDX are generated xenografting tumor tissues in zebrafish embryos. zPDX were exposed to chemotherapy regimens commonly used. We considered a zPDX a responder (R) when a decrease ≥50% in the relative tumor area was reported; otherwise, we considered them a non-responder (NR). Patients were classified as Responder if their own zPDX was classified as an R for the chemotherapy scheme she/he received an adjuvant treatment; otherwise, we considered them a Non-Responder. We compared the cancer recurrence rate at 1 year after surgery and the disease-free survival (DFS) of patients of both groups. We reported a statistically significant higher recurrence rate in the Non-Responder group: 66.7% vs. 14.3% (p = 0.036), anticipating relapse/no relapse within 1 year after surgery in 12/16 patients. The mean DFS was longer in the R-group than the NR-group, even if not statistically significant: 19.2 months vs. 12.7 months, (p = 0.123). The proposed strategy could potentially improve preclinical evaluation of treatment modalities and may enable prospective therapeutic selection in everyday clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Collagenase-Expressing Salmonella Targets Major Collagens in Pancreatic Cancer Leading to Reductions in Immunosuppressive Subsets and Tumor Growth
Cancers 2021, 13(14), 3565; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13143565 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Therapeutic resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) can be attributed, in part, to a dense extracellular matrix containing excessive collagen deposition. Here, we describe a novel Salmonella typhimurium (ST) vector expressing the bacterial collagenase Streptomyces omiyaensis trypsin (SOT), a serine protease known to [...] Read more.
Therapeutic resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) can be attributed, in part, to a dense extracellular matrix containing excessive collagen deposition. Here, we describe a novel Salmonella typhimurium (ST) vector expressing the bacterial collagenase Streptomyces omiyaensis trypsin (SOT), a serine protease known to hydrolyze collagens I and IV, which are predominantly found in PDAC. Utilizing aggressive models of PDAC, we show that ST-SOT selectively degrades intratumoral collagen leading to decreases in immunosuppressive subsets, tumor proliferation and viability. Ultimately, we found that ST-SOT treatment significantly modifies the intratumoral immune landscape to generate a microenvironment that may be more conducive to immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Amyloid Precursor-like Protein 2 Expression Increases during Pancreatic Cancer Development and Shortens the Survival of a Spontaneous Mouse Model of Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(7), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13071535 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 843
Abstract
In the United States, pancreatic cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths. Although substantial efforts have been made to understand pancreatic cancer biology and improve therapeutic efficacy, patients still face a bleak chance of survival. A greater understanding of pancreatic cancer development [...] Read more.
In the United States, pancreatic cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths. Although substantial efforts have been made to understand pancreatic cancer biology and improve therapeutic efficacy, patients still face a bleak chance of survival. A greater understanding of pancreatic cancer development and the identification of novel treatment targets are desperately needed. Our analysis of gene expression data from patient samples showed an increase in amyloid precursor-like protein 2 (APLP2) expression within primary tumor epithelium relative to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) epithelial cells. Augmented expression of APLP2 in primary tumors compared to adjacent stroma was also observed. Genetically engineered mouse models of spontaneous pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma were used to investigate APLP2′s role in cancer development. We found that APLP2 expression intensifies significantly during pancreatic cancer initiation and progression in the LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-Trp53R172H/+; Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mouse model, as shown by immunohistochemistry analysis. In studies utilizing pancreas-specific heterozygous and homozygous knockout of APLP2 in the KPC mouse model background, we observed significantly prolonged survival and reduced metastatic progression of pancreatic cancer. These results demonstrate the importance of APLP2 in pancreatic cancer initiation and metastasis and indicate that APLP2 should be considered a potential therapeutic target for this disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Patterns and Relevance of Langerhans Islet Invasion in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(2), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020249 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1334
Abstract
Background: Pancreatic cancer‐associated diabetes mellitus (PC‐DM) is present in most patients with pancreatic cancer, but its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Therefore, we aimed to characterize tumor infiltration in Langerhans islets in pancreatic cancer and determine its clinical relevance. Methods: Langerhans islet [...] Read more.
Background: Pancreatic cancer‐associated diabetes mellitus (PC‐DM) is present in most patients with pancreatic cancer, but its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Therefore, we aimed to characterize tumor infiltration in Langerhans islets in pancreatic cancer and determine its clinical relevance. Methods: Langerhans islet invasion was systematically analyzed in 68 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) using histopathological examination and 3D in vitro migration assays were performed to assess chemoattraction of pancreatic cancer cells to islet cells. Results: Langerhans islet invasion was present in all patients. We found four different patterns of islet invasion: (Type I) peri‐insular invasion with tumor cells directly touching the boundary, but not penetrating the islet; (Type II) endo‐insular invasion with tumor cells inside the round islet; (Type III) distorted islet structure with complete loss of the round islet morphology; and (Type IV) adjacent cancer and islet cells with solitary islet cells encountered adjacent to cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer cells did not exhibit any chemoattraction to islet cells in 3D assays in vitro. Further, there was no clinical correlation of islet invasion using the novel Islet Invasion Severity Score (IISS), which includes all invasion patterns with the occurrence of diabetes mellitus. However, Type IV islet invasion was related to worsened overall survival in our cohort. Conclusions: We systematically analyzed, for the first time, islet invasion in human pancreatic cancer. Four different main patterns of islet invasion were identified. Diabetes mellitus was not related to islet invasion. However, more research on this prevailing feature of pancreatic cancer is needed to better understand underlying principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Comparative Proton and Photon Irradiation Combined with Pharmacological Inhibitors in 3D Pancreatic Cancer Cultures
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3216; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113216 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1459 | Correction
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly therapy-resistant tumor entity of unmet needs. Over the last decades, radiotherapy has been considered as an additional treatment modality to surgery and chemotherapy. Owing to radiosensitive abdominal organs, high-precision proton beam radiotherapy has been regarded as [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly therapy-resistant tumor entity of unmet needs. Over the last decades, radiotherapy has been considered as an additional treatment modality to surgery and chemotherapy. Owing to radiosensitive abdominal organs, high-precision proton beam radiotherapy has been regarded as superior to photon radiotherapy. To further elucidate the potential of combination therapies, we employed a more physiological 3D, matrix-based cell culture model to assess tumoroid formation capacity after photon and proton irradiation. Additionally, we investigated proton- and photon-irradiation-induced phosphoproteomic changes for identifying clinically exploitable targets. Here, we show that proton irradiation elicits a higher efficacy to reduce 3D PDAC tumoroid formation and a greater extent of phosphoproteome alterations compared with photon irradiation. The targeting of proteins identified in the phosphoproteome that were uniquely altered by protons or photons failed to cause radiation-type-specific radiosensitization. Targeting DNA repair proteins associated with non-homologous endjoining, however, revealed a strong radiosensitizing potential independent of the radiation type. In conclusion, our findings suggest proton irradiation to be potentially more effective in PDAC than photons without additional efficacy when combined with DNA repair inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Primary Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor Prophylaxis in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Patients Treated with FOLFIRINOX as the First-Line Treatment
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3137; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113137 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 770
Abstract
Although FOLFIRINOX (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin) has been proven efficacious in metastatic pancreatic cancer (MPC), physicians hesitate to administer it due to its hematologic toxicities. We investigated the usefulness of primary granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) prophylaxis. We reviewed electronic medical records of [...] Read more.
Although FOLFIRINOX (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin) has been proven efficacious in metastatic pancreatic cancer (MPC), physicians hesitate to administer it due to its hematologic toxicities. We investigated the usefulness of primary granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) prophylaxis. We reviewed electronic medical records of MPC patients with good performance status who were administered FOLFIRINOX as the first-line treatment from 2011 to 2017. The patients were divided into primary G-CSF prophylaxis users (group A) and non-users or therapeutic/secondary users (group B). Cumulative relative dose (cRDI), adverse effects (AEs), and overall survival (OS) were compared. A total of 165 patients (group A (57) vs. group B (108)) were investigated. Intergroup differences in baseline characteristics were not significant, although the cRDI and the number of treatment cycles were both higher in group A than in group B (cRDI: 80.6% vs. 73.9%, p = 0.007; 9 vs. 6 cycles, p = 0.004). Primary G-CSF prophylaxis reduced the risk of neutropenia (55.6% to 31.6%, p = 0.003) and febrile neutropenia (18.5% to 1.8%, p = 0.002) and improved OS (8.8 to 14.7 months; hazard ratio [HR]: 1.766, 95% CI: 1.257–2.481, p = 0.001). When administering FOLFIRINOX for MPC, primary G-CSF prophylaxis could be rationalized to reduced AEs and improve survival; more prospective studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
FGFR4 Inhibitor BLU9931 Attenuates Pancreatic Cancer Cell Proliferation and Invasion While Inducing Senescence: Evidence for Senolytic Therapy Potential in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(10), 2976; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102976 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1830
Abstract
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4), one of four tyrosine kinase receptors for FGFs, is involved in diverse cellular processes. Activation of FGF19/FGFR4 signaling is closely associated with cancer development and progression. In this study, we examined the expression and roles of FGF19/FGFR4 [...] Read more.
Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4), one of four tyrosine kinase receptors for FGFs, is involved in diverse cellular processes. Activation of FGF19/FGFR4 signaling is closely associated with cancer development and progression. In this study, we examined the expression and roles of FGF19/FGFR4 signaling in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). In human PDAC cases, FGFR4 expression positively correlated with larger primary tumors and more advanced stages. Among eight PDAC cell lines, FGFR4 was expressed at the highest levels in PK-1 cells, in which single-nucleotide polymorphism G388R in FGFR4 was detected. For inhibition of autocrine/paracrine FGF19/FGFR4 signaling, we used BLU9931, a highly selective FGFR4 inhibitor. Inhibition of signal transduction through ERK, AKT, and STAT3 pathways by BLU9931 reduced proliferation in FGF19/FGFR4 signaling-activated PDAC cells. By contrast, BLU9931 did not alter stemness features, including stemness marker expression, anticancer drug resistance, and sphere-forming ability. However, BLU9931 inhibited cell invasion, in part, by downregulating membrane-type matrix metalloproteinase-1 in FGF19/FGFR4 signaling-activated PDAC cells. Furthermore, downregulation of SIRT1 and SIRT6 by BLU9931 contributed to senescence induction, priming these cells for quercetin-induced death, a process termed senolysis. Thus, we propose that BLU9931 is a promising therapeutic agent in FGFR4-positive PDAC, especially when combined with senolysis (195/200). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Molecular Pathogenesis of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Impact of miR-30c-5p and miR-30c-2-3p Regulation on Oncogenic Genes
Cancers 2020, 12(10), 2731; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102731 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1549
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, and its prognosis is abysmal; only 25% of patients survive one year, and 5% live for five years. MicroRNA (miRNA) signature analysis of PDAC revealed that both strands of pre- [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, and its prognosis is abysmal; only 25% of patients survive one year, and 5% live for five years. MicroRNA (miRNA) signature analysis of PDAC revealed that both strands of pre-miR-30c (miR-30c-5p, guide strand; miR-30c-2-3p, passenger strand) were significantly downregulated, suggesting they function as tumor-suppressors in PDAC cells. Ectopic expression assays demonstrated that these miRNAs attenuated the aggressiveness of PDAC cells, e.g., cell proliferation, migration, and invasiveness. Through a combination of in silico analyses and gene expression data, we identified 216 genes as putative oncogenic targets of miR-30c-5p and miR-30c-2-3p regulation in PDAC cells. Among these, the expression of 18 genes significantly predicted the 5-year survival rates of PDAC patients (p < 0.01). Importantly, the expression levels of 10 genes (YWHAZ, F3, TMOD3, NFE2L3, ENDOD1, ITGA3, RRAS, PRSS23, TOP2A, and LRRFIP1) were found to be independent prognostic factors for patient survival (p < 0.01). We focused on TOP2A (DNA Topoisomerase II Alpha) and investigated its potential as a therapeutic target for PDAC. The overexpression of TOP2A and its transcriptional activators (SP1 and HMGB2) was detected in PDAC clinical specimens. Moreover, the knockdown of TOP2A enhanced the sensitivity of PDAC cells to anticancer drugs. Our analyses of the PDAC miRNA signature and tumor-suppressive miRNAs provide important insights into the molecular pathogenesis of PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Intracellular Porphyromonas gingivalis Promotes the Tumorigenic Behavior of Pancreatic Carcinoma Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2331; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082331 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2294
Abstract
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a member of the dysbiotic oral microbiome associated with oral inflammation and periodontal disease. Intriguingly, epidemiological studies link P. gingivalis to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Given that oral bacteria are detected in human pancreatic cancer, and both mouse [...] Read more.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a member of the dysbiotic oral microbiome associated with oral inflammation and periodontal disease. Intriguingly, epidemiological studies link P. gingivalis to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Given that oral bacteria are detected in human pancreatic cancer, and both mouse and human pancreata harbor microbiota, we explored the involvement of P. gingivalis in pancreatic tumorigenesis using cell lines and a xenograft model. Live P. gingivalis induced proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells; however, surprisingly, this effect was independent of Toll-like receptor 2, the innate immune receptor that is engaged in response to P. gingivalis on other cancer and immune cells, and is required for P. gingivalis to induce alveolar bone resorption. Instead, we found that P. gingivalis survives inside pancreatic cancer cells, a trait that can be enhanced in vitro and is increased by hypoxia, a central characteristic of pancreatic cancer. Increased tumor cell proliferation was related to the degree of intracellular persistence, and infection of tumor cells with P. gingivalis led to enhanced growth in vivo. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate the direct effect of exposure to P. gingivalis on the tumorigenic behavior of pancreatic cancer cell lines. Our findings shed light on potential mechanisms underlying the pancreatic cancer–periodontitis link. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Actively Targeted Nanodelivery of Echinomycin Induces Autophagy-Mediated Death in Chemoresistant Pancreatic Cancer In Vivo
Cancers 2020, 12(8), 2279; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082279 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1741
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer remains a recalcitrant neoplasm associated with chemoresistance and high fatality. Because it is frequently resistant to apoptosis, exploiting autophagic cell death could offer a new treatment approach. We repurpose echinomycin, an antibiotic encapsulated within a syndecan-1 actively targeted nanoparticle, for treatment [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer remains a recalcitrant neoplasm associated with chemoresistance and high fatality. Because it is frequently resistant to apoptosis, exploiting autophagic cell death could offer a new treatment approach. We repurpose echinomycin, an antibiotic encapsulated within a syndecan-1 actively targeted nanoparticle, for treatment of pancreatic cancer. Tumor-specific uptake, biodistribution, efficacy of nanodelivered echinomycin, and mechanism of cell death were assessed in aggressive, metastatic models of pancreatic cancer. In these autophagic-dependent pancreatic cancer models, echinomycin treatment resulted in autophagic cell death noted by high levels of LC3 among other autophagy markers, but without hallmarks of apoptosis, e.g., caspase activation and chromatin fragmentation, or necrosis, e.g., plasma membrane degradation and chromatin condensation/degrading. In vivo, biodistribution of syndecan-1-targeted nanoparticles indicated preferential S2VP10 or S2CP9 tumor uptake compared to the liver and kidney (S2VP10 p = 0.0016, p = 0.00004 and S2CP9 p = 0.0009, p = 0.0001). Actively targeted nanodelivered echinomycin resulted in significant survival increases compared to Gemzar (S2VP10 p = 0.0003, S2CP9 p = 0.0017) or echinomycin only (S2VP10 p = 0.0096, S2CP9 p = 0.0073). We demonstrate that actively targeted nanodelivery of echinomycin results in autophagic cell death in pancreatic and potentially other high-autophagy, apoptosis-resistant tumors. Collectively, these findings support syndecan-1-targeted delivery of echinomycin and dysregulation of autophagy to induce cell death in pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Induction of Lysosome Membrane Permeabilization as a Therapeutic Strategy to Target Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(7), 1790; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071790 - 04 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
Despite significant efforts to improve pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) clinical outcomes, overall survival remains dismal. The poor response to current therapies is partly due to the existence of pancreatic cancer stem cells (PaCSCs), which are efficient drivers of PDAC tumorigenesis, metastasis and relapse. [...] Read more.
Despite significant efforts to improve pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) clinical outcomes, overall survival remains dismal. The poor response to current therapies is partly due to the existence of pancreatic cancer stem cells (PaCSCs), which are efficient drivers of PDAC tumorigenesis, metastasis and relapse. To find new therapeutic agents that could efficiently kill PaCSCs, we screened a chemical library of 680 compounds for candidate small molecules with anti-CSC activity, and identified two compounds of a specific chemical series with potent activity in vitro and in vivo against patient-derived xenograft (PDX) cultures. The anti-CSC mechanism of action of this specific chemical series was found to rely on induction of lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP), which is likely associated with the increased lysosomal mass observed in PaCSCs. Using the well characterized LMP-inducer siramesine as a tool molecule, we show elimination of the PaCSC population in mice implanted with tumors from two PDX models. Collectively, our approach identified lysosomal disruption as a promising anti-CSC therapeutic strategy for PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Article
Myoferlin Is a Yet Unknown Interactor of the Mitochondrial Dynamics’ Machinery in Pancreas Cancer Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1643; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061643 - 21 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1496
Abstract
Pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the deadliest cancers where surgery remains the main survival factor. Mitochondria were described to be involved in tumor aggressiveness in several cancer types including pancreas cancer. We have previously reported that myoferlin controls mitochondrial structure and function, [...] Read more.
Pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the deadliest cancers where surgery remains the main survival factor. Mitochondria were described to be involved in tumor aggressiveness in several cancer types including pancreas cancer. We have previously reported that myoferlin controls mitochondrial structure and function, and demonstrated that myoferlin depletion disturbs the mitochondrial dynamics culminating in a mitochondrial fission. In order to unravel the mechanism underlying this observation, we explored the myoferlin localization in pancreatic cancer cells and showed a colocalization with the mitochondrial dynamic machinery element: mitofusin. This colocalization was confirmed in several pancreas cancer cell lines and in normal cell lines as well. Moreover, in pancreas cancer cell lines, it appeared that myoferlin interacted with mitofusin. These discoveries open-up new research avenues aiming at modulating mitofusin function in pancreas cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review

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Review
The Therapeutic Potential of FLASH-RT for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(5), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14051167 - 24 Feb 2022
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Recent preclinical evidence has shown that ionizing radiation given at an ultra-high dose rate (UHDR), also known as FLASH radiation therapy (FLASH-RT), can selectively reduce radiation injury to normal tissue while remaining isoeffective to conventional radiation therapy (CONV-RT) with respect to tumor killing. [...] Read more.
Recent preclinical evidence has shown that ionizing radiation given at an ultra-high dose rate (UHDR), also known as FLASH radiation therapy (FLASH-RT), can selectively reduce radiation injury to normal tissue while remaining isoeffective to conventional radiation therapy (CONV-RT) with respect to tumor killing. Unresectable pancreatic cancer is challenging to control without ablative doses of radiation, but this is difficult to achieve without significant gastrointestinal toxicity. In this review article, we explore the propsed mechanisms of FLASH-RT and its tissue-sparing effect, as well as its relevance and suitability for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. We also briefly discuss the challenges with regard to dosimetry, dose rate, and fractionation for using FLASH-RT to treat this disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Macrophage and Neutrophil Interactions in the Pancreatic Tumor Microenvironment Drive the Pathogenesis of Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(1), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14010194 - 31 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
Despite modest improvements in survival in recent years, pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains a deadly disease with a 5-year survival rate of only 9%. These poor outcomes are driven by failure of early detection, treatment resistance, and propensity for early metastatic spread. Uncovering innovative therapeutic [...] Read more.
Despite modest improvements in survival in recent years, pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains a deadly disease with a 5-year survival rate of only 9%. These poor outcomes are driven by failure of early detection, treatment resistance, and propensity for early metastatic spread. Uncovering innovative therapeutic modalities to target the resistance mechanisms that make pancreatic cancer largely incurable are urgently needed. In this review, we discuss the immune composition of pancreatic tumors, including the counterintuitive fact that there is a significant inflammatory immune infiltrate in pancreatic cancer yet anti-tumor mechanisms are subverted and immune behaviors are suppressed. Here, we emphasize how immune cell interactions generate tumor progression and treatment resistance. We narrow in on tumor macrophage (TAM) spatial arrangement, polarity/function, recruitment, and origin to introduce a concept where interactions with tumor neutrophils (TAN) perpetuate the microenvironment. The sequelae of macrophage and neutrophil activities contributes to tumor remodeling, fibrosis, hypoxia, and progression. We also discuss immune mechanisms driving resistance to standard of care modalities. Finally, we describe a cadre of treatment targets, including those intended to overcome TAM and TAN recruitment and function, to circumvent barriers presented by immune infiltration in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Treatment
Cancers 2021, 13(21), 5510; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13215510 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1464
Abstract
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest malignancies among all cancers. Despite curative intent, surgery and the use of standard cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy, PDAC remains treatment-resistant. In recent years, more contemporary treatment modalities such as immunotherapy via checkpoint inhibition [...] Read more.
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest malignancies among all cancers. Despite curative intent, surgery and the use of standard cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy, PDAC remains treatment-resistant. In recent years, more contemporary treatment modalities such as immunotherapy via checkpoint inhibition have shown some promise in many other malignancies, yet PDAC still eludes an effective curative treatment. In investigating these phenomena, research has suggested that the significant desmoplastic and adaptive tumor microenvironment (TME) of PDAC promote the proliferation of immunosuppressive cells and act as major obstacles to treatment efficacy. In this review, we explore challenges associated with the treatment of PDAC, including its unique immunosuppressive TME. This review examines the role of surgery in PDAC, recent advances in surgical approaches and surgical optimization. We further focus on advances in immunotherapeutic approaches, including checkpoint inhibition, CD40 agonists, and discuss promising immune-based future strategies, such as therapeutic neoantigen cancer vaccines as means of overcoming the resistance mechanisms which underly the dense stroma and immune milieu of PDAC. We also explore unique signaling, TME and stromal targeting via novel small molecule inhibitors, which target KRAS, FAK, CCR2/CCR5, CXCR4, PARP and cancer-associated fibroblasts. This review also explores the most promising strategy for advancement in treatment of pancreatic cancer by reviewing contemporary combinatorial approaches in efforts to overcome the treatment refractory nature of PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Neoadjuvant Treatment for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: A False Promise or an Opportunity to Improve Outcome?
Cancers 2021, 13(17), 4396; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13174396 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an aggressive tumor biology and is associated with poor survival outcomes. Most patients present with metastatic or locally advanced disease. In the 10–20% of patients with upfront resectable disease, surgery offers the only chance of cure, with the [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an aggressive tumor biology and is associated with poor survival outcomes. Most patients present with metastatic or locally advanced disease. In the 10–20% of patients with upfront resectable disease, surgery offers the only chance of cure, with the addition of adjuvant chemotherapy representing an established standard of care for improving outcomes. Despite resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy, at best, 3-year survival reaches 63.4%. Post-operative complications and poor performance mean that around 50% of the patients do not commence adjuvant chemotherapy, and a significant proportion do not complete the intended treatment course. These factors, along with the advantages of early treatment of micrometastatic disease, the ability to downstage tumors, and the increase in R0 resection rates, have increased interest in neo-adjuvant treatment strategies. Here we review biomarkers for early diagnosis of PDAC and patient selection for a neo-adjuvant approach. We also review the current evidence for different chemotherapy regimens in this setting, as well as the role of chemoradiotherapy and immunotherapy, and we discuss ongoing trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Photodynamic Therapy for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Cancers 2021, 13(17), 4354; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13174354 - 28 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is among the most lethal of human cancers. Clinical trials of various chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted agents and combination strategies have generally failed to provide meaningful improvement in survival for patients with unresectable disease. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a photochemistry-based [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is among the most lethal of human cancers. Clinical trials of various chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted agents and combination strategies have generally failed to provide meaningful improvement in survival for patients with unresectable disease. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a photochemistry-based approach that enables selective cell killing using tumor-localizing agents activated by visible or near-infrared light. In recent years, clinical studies have demonstrated the technical feasibility of PDT for patients with locally advanced PDAC while a growing body of preclinical literature has shown that PDT can overcome drug resistance and target problematic and aggressive disease. Emerging evidence also suggests the ability of PDT to target PDAC stroma, which is known to act as both a barrier to drug delivery and a tumor-promoting signaling partner. Here, we review the literature which indicates an emergent role of PDT in clinical management of PDAC, including the potential for combination with other targeted agents and RNA medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Direct Endoplasmic Reticulum Targeting by the Selective Alkylphospholipid Analog and Antitumor Ether Lipid Edelfosine as a Therapeutic Approach in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(16), 4173; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164173 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common malignancy of the pancreas, shows a dismal and grim overall prognosis and survival rate, which have remained virtually unchanged for over half a century. PDAC is the most lethal of all cancers, with the highest mortality-to-incidence [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common malignancy of the pancreas, shows a dismal and grim overall prognosis and survival rate, which have remained virtually unchanged for over half a century. PDAC is the most lethal of all cancers, with the highest mortality-to-incidence ratio. PDAC responds poorly to current therapies and remains an incurable malignancy. Therefore, novel therapeutic targets and drugs are urgently needed for pancreatic cancer treatment. Selective induction of apoptosis in cancer cells is an appealing approach in cancer therapy. Apoptotic cell death is highly regulated by different signaling routes that involve a variety of subcellular organelles. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress acts as a double-edged sword at the interface of cell survival and death. Pancreatic cells exhibit high hormone and enzyme secretory functions, and thereby show a highly developed ER. Thus, pancreatic cancer cells display a prominent ER. Solid tumors have to cope with adverse situations in which hypoxia, lack of certain nutrients, and the action of certain antitumor agents lead to a complex interplay and crosstalk between ER stress and autophagy—the latter acting as an adaptive survival response. ER stress also mediates cell death induced by a number of anticancer drugs and experimental conditions, highlighting the pivotal role of ER stress in modulating cell fate. The alkylphospholipid analog prototype edelfosine is selectively taken up by tumor cells, accumulates in the ER of a number of human solid tumor cells—including pancreatic cancer cells—and promotes apoptosis through a persistent ER-stress-mediated mechanism both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we discuss and propose that direct ER targeting may be a promising approach in the therapy of pancreatic cancer, opening up a new avenue for the treatment of this currently incurable and deadly cancer. Furthermore, because autophagy acts as a cytoprotective response to ER stress, potentiation of the triggering of a persistent ER response by combination therapy, together with the use of autophagy blockers, could improve the current gloomy expectations for finding a cure for this type of cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Non-Coding RNAs in Pancreatic Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy: Focus on lncRNAs, circRNAs, and piRNAs
Cancers 2021, 13(16), 4161; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164161 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 824
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignance with high mortality. The lack of early diagnosis and effective therapy contributes to the high mortality of this deadly disease. For a long time being, the alterations in coding RNAs have been considered as major targets for [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignance with high mortality. The lack of early diagnosis and effective therapy contributes to the high mortality of this deadly disease. For a long time being, the alterations in coding RNAs have been considered as major targets for diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, with the advances in high-throughput next generation of sequencing more alterations in non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have been discovered in different cancers. Further mechanistic studies have demonstrated that ncRNAs such as long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA), circular RNAs (circRNA) and piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) play vital roles in the regulation of tumorigenesis, tumor progression and prognosis. In recent years, increasing studies have focused on the roles of ncRNAs in the development and progression of pancreatic cancer. Novel findings have demonstrated that lncRNA, circRNA, and piRNA are critically involved in the regulation of gene expression and cellular signal transduction in pancreatic cancer. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of roles of lncRNA, circRNA, and piRNA in the diagnosis and prognosis of pancreatic cancer, and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of these ncRNAs and related signaling in pancreatic cancer therapy. The information provided here will help to find new strategies for better treatment of pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Drug Repurposing, an Attractive Strategy in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment: Preclinical and Clinical Updates
Cancers 2021, 13(16), 3946; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13163946 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1253
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest malignancies worldwide, since patients rarely display symptoms until an advanced and unresectable stage of the disease. Current chemotherapy options are unsatisfactory and there is an urgent need for more effective and less toxic drugs to [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest malignancies worldwide, since patients rarely display symptoms until an advanced and unresectable stage of the disease. Current chemotherapy options are unsatisfactory and there is an urgent need for more effective and less toxic drugs to improve the dismal PC therapy. Repurposing of non-oncology drugs in PC treatment represents a very promising therapeutic option and different compounds are currently being considered as candidates for repurposing in the treatment of this tumor. In this review, we provide an update on some of the most promising FDA-approved, non-oncology, repurposed drug candidates that show prominent clinical and preclinical data in pancreatic cancer. We also focus on proposed mechanisms of action and known molecular targets that they modulate in PC. Furthermore, we provide an explorative bioinformatic analysis, which suggests that some of the PC repurposed drug candidates have additional, unexplored, oncology-relevant targets. Finally, we discuss recent developments regarding the immunomodulatory role displayed by some of these drugs, which may expand their potential application in synergy with approved anticancer immunomodulatory agents that are mostly ineffective as single agents in PC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Targeting and Reprograming Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts and the Tumor Microenvironment in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2021, 13(4), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040697 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1910
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States both in female and male, and is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030. The overall five-year survival rate remains at around 10%. Pancreatic cancer exhibits a [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States both in female and male, and is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030. The overall five-year survival rate remains at around 10%. Pancreatic cancer exhibits a remarkable resistance to established therapeutic options such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, due to dense stromal tumor microenvironment. Cancer-associated fibroblasts are the major stromal cell type and source of extracellular matrix proteins shaping a physical and metabolic barrier thereby reducing therapeutic efficacy. Targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts has been considered a promising therapeutic strategy. However, depleting cancer-associated fibroblasts may also have tumor-promoting effects due to their functional heterogeneity. Several subtypes of cancer-associated fibroblasts have been suggested to exhibit tumor-restraining function. This review article summarizes recent preclinical and clinical investigations addressing pancreatic cancer therapy through targeting specific subtypes of cancer-associated fibroblasts, deprogramming activated fibroblasts, administration of mesenchymal stem cells, as well as reprogramming tumor-promoting cancer-associated fibroblasts to tumor-restraining cancer-associated fibroblasts. Further, inter-cellular mediators between cancer-associated fibroblasts and the surrounding tissue microenvironment are discussed. It is important to increase our understanding of cancer-associated fibroblast heterogeneity and the tumor microenvironment for more specific and personalized therapies for pancreatic cancer patients in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer—A Dangerous Liaison Relying on Carbonyl Stress
Cancers 2021, 13(2), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020313 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1869
Abstract
Both type 2 (T2DM) and type 1 (T1DM) diabetes mellitus confer an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in humans. The magnitude and temporal trajectory of the risk conferred by the two forms of diabetes are similar, suggesting a common mechanism. Carbonyl stress is [...] Read more.
Both type 2 (T2DM) and type 1 (T1DM) diabetes mellitus confer an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in humans. The magnitude and temporal trajectory of the risk conferred by the two forms of diabetes are similar, suggesting a common mechanism. Carbonyl stress is a hallmark of hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, which accompanies T2DM, prediabetes, and obesity. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that diabetes promotes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in experimental models of T2DM, a finding recently confirmed in a T1DM model. The carbonyl stress markers advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), the levels of which are increased in diabetes, were shown to markedly accelerate tumor development in a mouse model of Kras-driven PDAC. Consistently, inhibition of AGE formation by trapping their carbonyl precursors (i.e., reactive carbonyl species, RCS) prevented the PDAC-promoting effect of diabetes. Considering the growing attention on carbonyl stress in the onset and progression of several cancers, including breast, lung and colorectal cancer, this review discusses the mechanisms by which glucose and lipid imbalances induce a status of carbonyl stress, the oncogenic pathways activated by AGEs and their precursors RCS, and the potential use of carbonyl-scavenging agents and AGE inhibitors in PDAC prevention and treatment, particularly in high-risk diabetic individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Adjuvant Pancreatic Cancer Management: Towards New Perspectives in 2021
Cancers 2020, 12(12), 3866; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123866 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Adjuvant chemotherapy is currently used in all patients with resected pancreatic cancer who are able to begin treatment within 3 months after surgery. Since the recent publication of the PRODIGE 24 trial results, modified FOLFIRINOX has become the standard-of-care in the non-Asian population [...] Read more.
Adjuvant chemotherapy is currently used in all patients with resected pancreatic cancer who are able to begin treatment within 3 months after surgery. Since the recent publication of the PRODIGE 24 trial results, modified FOLFIRINOX has become the standard-of-care in the non-Asian population with localized pancreatic adenocarcinoma following surgery. Nevertheless, there is still a risk of toxicity, and feasibility may be limited in heavily pre-treated patients. In more frail patients, gemcitabine-based chemotherapy remains a suitable option, for example gemcitabine or 5FU in monotherapy. In Asia, although S1-based chemotherapy is the standard of care it is not readily available outside Asia and data are lacking in non-Asiatic patients. In patients in whom resection is not initially possible, intensified schemes such as FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine-nabpaclitaxel have been confirmed as options to enhance the response rate and resectability, promoting research in adjuvant therapy. In particular, should oncologists prescribe adjuvant treatment after a long sequence of chemotherapy +/– chemoradiotherapy and surgery? Should oncologists consider the response rate, the R0 resection rate alone, or the initial chemotherapy regimen? And finally, should they take into consideration the duration of the entire sequence, or the presence of limited toxicities of induction treatment? The aim of this review is to summarize adjuvant management of resected pancreatic cancer and to raise current and future concerns, especially the need for biomarkers and the best holistic care for patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
Review
Cellular Heterogeneity of Pancreatic Stellate Cells, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, and Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(12), 3770; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123770 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1541
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030 in the United States, and the overall five-year survival rate stands still at around 9%. The stroma compartment can make up more than 90% of the pancreatic tumor mass, contributing to [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030 in the United States, and the overall five-year survival rate stands still at around 9%. The stroma compartment can make up more than 90% of the pancreatic tumor mass, contributing to the hypoxic tumor microenvironment. The dense stroma with extracellular matrix proteins can be a physical and metabolic barrier reducing therapeutic efficacy. Cancer-associated fibroblasts are a source of extracellular matrix proteins. Therefore, targeting these cells, or extracellular matrix proteins, have been considered as therapeutic strategies. However, several studies show that deletion of cancer-associated fibroblasts may have tumor-promoting effects. Cancer-associated fibroblasts are derived from a variety of different cell types, such as pancreatic stellate cells and mesenchymal stem cells, and constitute a diverse cell population consisting of several functionally heterogeneous subtypes. Several subtypes of cancer-associated fibroblasts exhibit a tumor-restraining function. This review article summarizes recent findings regarding origin and functional heterogeneity of tumor-promoting as well as tumor-restraining cancer-associated fibroblasts. A better understanding of cancer-associated fibroblast heterogeneity could provide more specific and personalized therapies for pancreatic cancer patients in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Deciphering the Role of Innate Immune NF-ĸB Pathway in Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(9), 2675; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092675 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers with no effective treatment option. A predominant hallmark of PDAC is the intense fibro-inflammatory stroma which not only physically collapses vasculature but also functionally suppresses anti-tumor immunity. Constitutive and induced activation of [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers with no effective treatment option. A predominant hallmark of PDAC is the intense fibro-inflammatory stroma which not only physically collapses vasculature but also functionally suppresses anti-tumor immunity. Constitutive and induced activation of the NF-κB transcription factors is a major mechanism that drives inflammation in PDAC. While targeting this pathway is widely supported as a promising therapeutic strategy, clinical success is elusive due to a lack of safe and effective anti-NF-κB pathway therapeutics. Furthermore, the cell type-specific contribution of this pathway, specifically in neoplastic cells, stromal fibroblasts, and immune cells, has not been critically appraised. In this article, we highlighted seminal and recent literature on molecular mechanisms that drive NF-κB activity in each of these major cell types in PDAC, focusing specifically on the innate immune Toll-like/IL-1 receptor pathway. We reviewed recent evidence on the signaling interplay between the NF-κB and oncogenic KRAS signaling pathways in PDAC cells and their collective contribution to cancer inflammation. Lastly, we reviewed clinical trials on agents that target the NF-κB pathway and novel therapeutic strategies that have been proposed in preclinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Review
Advanced Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Moving Forward
Cancers 2020, 12(7), 1955; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071955 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1328
Abstract
Globally, the death rate of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has doubled over 30 years and is likely to further increase, making PDAC a leading cause of cancer-related death in the coming years. PDAC is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage, and modified FOLFIRINOX [...] Read more.
Globally, the death rate of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has doubled over 30 years and is likely to further increase, making PDAC a leading cause of cancer-related death in the coming years. PDAC is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage, and modified FOLFIRINOX or nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine are the mainstay of systemic therapy. For elderly patients with good performance status, low-dose treatment can preserve quality of life without compromising cancer control or survival. Maintenance therapy should be considered in PDAC patients achieving disease control with systemic therapy. In particular, olaparib has demonstrated a progression-free survival benefit of 3.6 months in a subgroup of PDAC patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations (ca. 10% of all PDAC). Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is often omitted in the treatment of patients with PDAC, with possibly deleterious consequences. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is highly prevalent in patients with PDAC and should be considered in the diagnostic algorithm of PDAC patients with bloating and diarrhea. Rivaroxaban has been associated with a reduced risk of thrombosis without an increase in major bleeding events, and its use should be considered in every patient with advanced PDAC undergoing systemic therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Study Protocol
Irreversible Electroporation and Nivolumab Combined with Intratumoral Administration of a Toll-Like Receptor Ligand, as a Means of In Vivo Vaccination for Metastatic Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PANFIRE-III). A Phase-I Study Protocol
Cancers 2021, 13(15), 3902; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13153902 - 02 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a novel image-guided tumor ablation technique with the ability to generate a window for the establishment of systemic antitumor immunity. IRE transiently alters the tumor’s immunosuppressive microenvironment while simultaneously generating antigen release, thereby instigating an adaptive immune response. Combining [...] Read more.
Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a novel image-guided tumor ablation technique with the ability to generate a window for the establishment of systemic antitumor immunity. IRE transiently alters the tumor’s immunosuppressive microenvironment while simultaneously generating antigen release, thereby instigating an adaptive immune response. Combining IRE with immunotherapeutic drugs, i.e., electroimmunotherapy, has synergistic potential and might induce a durable antitumor response. The primary objective of this study is to assess the safety of the combination of IRE with IMO-2125 (a toll-like receptor 9 ligand) and/or nivolumab in patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC). In this randomized controlled phase I clinical trial, 18 patients with mPDAC pretreated with chemotherapy will be enrolled in one of three study arms: A (control): nivolumab monotherapy; B: percutaneous IRE of the primary tumor followed by nivolumab; or C: intratumoral injection of IMO-2125 followed by percutaneous IRE of the primary tumor and nivolumab. Assessments include contrast enhanced computed tomography (ceCT), 18F-FDG and 18F-BMS-986192 (PD-L1) positron emission tomography (PET)-CT, biopsies of the primary tumor and metastases, peripheral blood samples, and quality of life and pain questionnaires. There is no curative treatment option for patients with mPDAC, and palliative chemotherapy regimens only moderately improve survival. Consequently, there is an urgent need for innovative and radically different treatment approaches. Should electroimmunotherapy establish an effective and durable anti-tumor response, it may ultimately improve PDAC’s dismal prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Correction
Correction: Görte et al. Comparative Proton and Photon Irradiation Combined with Pharmacological Inhibitors in 3D Pancreatic Cancer Cultures. Cancers 2020, 12, 3216
Cancers 2021, 13(13), 3364; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13133364 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 749
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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Perspective
Small Molecule KRAS Inhibitors: The Future for Targeted Pancreatic Cancer Therapy?
Cancers 2020, 12(5), 1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051341 - 24 May 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2488
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest solid tumors in the world. Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for PDAC. Mutations in Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue (KRAS) are known to be a major driver of PDAC [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest solid tumors in the world. Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for PDAC. Mutations in Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue (KRAS) are known to be a major driver of PDAC progression, but it was considered an undruggable target until recently. Moreover, PDAC also suffers from drug delivery issues due to the highly fibrotic tumor microenvironment. In this perspective, we provide an overview of recent developments in targeting mutant KRAS and strategies to overcome drug delivery issues (e.g., nanoparticle delivery). Overall, we propose that the antitumor effects from novel KRAS inhibitors along with strategies to overcome drug delivery issues could be a new therapeutic way forward in PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma)
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