Special Issue "Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Wen Wee Ma

Professor of Oncology, Division of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW Rochester, MN 55905, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-507-293-0462
Interests: pancreatic cancer; colon cancer; phase I; drug development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advancement in pancreatic cancer management has been dishearteningly slow. In the age of molecularly-targeted drugs and immunotherapy, the best treatment option for advanced and metastatic patients, which is the majority, remain combinations of cytotoxic drugs. For those fortunate enough to undergo curative pancreatectomy, cancer recurrence continues to be a real and significant concern. This Special Issue will discuss recent development in our understanding of the biology and genomic characteristics, early detection research, innovations in the treatment of localized disease and therapeutics targeting novel targets in pancreatic cancer.

Prof. Dr. Wen Wee Ma
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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 monthly 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 1800 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.

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Elevated Polyamines in Saliva of Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1546 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Detection of pancreatic cancer (PC) at a resectable stage is still difficult because of the lack of accurate detection tests. The development of accurate biomarkers in low or non-invasive biofluids is essential to enable frequent tests, which would help increase the opportunity of [...] Read more.
Detection of pancreatic cancer (PC) at a resectable stage is still difficult because of the lack of accurate detection tests. The development of accurate biomarkers in low or non-invasive biofluids is essential to enable frequent tests, which would help increase the opportunity of PC detection in early stages. Polyamines have been reported as possible biomarkers in urine and saliva samples in various cancers. Here, we analyzed salivary metabolites, including polyamines, using capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry. Salivary samples were collected from patients with PC (n = 39), those with chronic pancreatitis (CP, n = 14), and controls (C, n = 26). Polyamines, such as spermine, N1-acetylspermidine, and N1-acetylspermine, showed a significant difference between patients with PC and those with C, and the combination of four metabolites including N1-acetylspermidine showed high accuracy in discriminating PC from the other two groups. These data show the potential of saliva as a source for tests screening for PC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Extracellular Matrix and Pancreatic Cancer: A Complex Relationship
Cancers 2018, 10(9), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10090316
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 2 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an extraordinarily dense fibrotic stroma that impedes tumor perfusion and delivery of anticancer drugs. Since the extracellular matrix (ECM) comprises the bulk of the stroma, it is primarily responsible for the increased interstitial tissue pressure and stiff mechanical [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an extraordinarily dense fibrotic stroma that impedes tumor perfusion and delivery of anticancer drugs. Since the extracellular matrix (ECM) comprises the bulk of the stroma, it is primarily responsible for the increased interstitial tissue pressure and stiff mechanical properties of the stroma. Besides its mechanical influence, the ECM provides important biochemical and physical cues that promote survival, proliferation, and metastasis. By serving as a nutritional source, the ECM also enables PDAC cells to survive under the nutrient-poor conditions. While therapeutic strategies using stroma-depleting drugs have yielded disappointing results, an increasing body of research indicates the ECM may offer a variety of potential therapeutic targets. As preclinical studies of ECM-targeted drugs have shown promising effects, a number of clinical trials are currently investigating agents with the potential to advance the future treatment of PDAC. Thus, the present review seeks to give an overview of the complex relationship between the ECM and PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Emerging Therapies and Future Directions in Targeting the Tumor Stroma and Immune System in the Treatment of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma
Cancers 2018, 10(6), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10060193
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is typically refractory to conventional treatments and associated with poor prognosis. While therapeutic advances over the past several years have improved patient outcomes, the observed benefits have been modest at best, highlighting the need for continued development of alternate treatment strategies. [...] Read more.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is typically refractory to conventional treatments and associated with poor prognosis. While therapeutic advances over the past several years have improved patient outcomes, the observed benefits have been modest at best, highlighting the need for continued development of alternate treatment strategies. The tumor microenvironment has been identified as being integral to oncogenesis through its direct effect on cellular pathway communication, immune inhibition, and promoting chemo-resistance. A more in depth understanding of the biology of the disease, in addition with our ability to develop more effective novel therapies have led to ongoing studies that are investigating several promising treatment options in this disease. Herein, we highlight and review the therapeutic landscape in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview A New Strategy to Control and Eradicate “Undruggable” Oncogenic K-RAS-Driven Pancreatic Cancer: Molecular Insights and Core Principles Learned from Developmental and Evolutionary Biology
Cancers 2018, 10(5), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10050142
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (15664 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Oncogenic K-RAS mutations are found in virtually all pancreatic cancers, making K-RAS one of the most targeted oncoproteins for drug development in cancer therapies. Despite intense research efforts over the past three decades, oncogenic K-RAS has remained largely “undruggable”. Rather than targeting an [...] Read more.
Oncogenic K-RAS mutations are found in virtually all pancreatic cancers, making K-RAS one of the most targeted oncoproteins for drug development in cancer therapies. Despite intense research efforts over the past three decades, oncogenic K-RAS has remained largely “undruggable”. Rather than targeting an upstream component of the RAS signaling pathway (i.e., EGFR/HER2) and/or the midstream effector kinases (i.e., RAF/MEK/ERK/PI3K/mTOR), we propose an alternative strategy to control oncogenic K-RAS signal by targeting its most downstream signaling module, Seven-In-Absentia Homolog (SIAH). SIAH E3 ligase controls the signal output of oncogenic K-RAS hyperactivation that drives unchecked cell proliferation, uncontrolled tumor growth, and rapid cancer cell dissemination in human pancreatic cancer. Therefore, SIAH is an ideal therapeutic target as it is an extraordinarily conserved downstream signaling gatekeeper indispensable for proper RAS signaling. Guided by molecular insights and core principles obtained from developmental and evolutionary biology, we propose an anti-SIAH-centered anti-K-RAS strategy as a logical and alternative anticancer strategy to dampen uncontrolled K-RAS hyperactivation and halt tumor growth and metastasis in pancreatic cancer. The clinical utility of developing SIAH as both a tumor-specific and therapy-responsive biomarker, as well as a viable anti-K-RAS drug target, is logically simple and conceptually innovative. SIAH clearly constitutes a major tumor vulnerability and K-RAS signaling bottleneck in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Given the high degree of evolutionary conservation in the K-RAS/SIAH signaling pathway, an anti-SIAH-based anti-PDAC therapy will synergize with covalent K-RAS inhibitors and direct K-RAS targeted initiatives to control and eradicate pancreatic cancer in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Targeting Epigenetic Aberrations in Pancreatic Cancer, a New Path to Improve Patient Outcomes?
Cancers 2018, 10(5), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10050128
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among all types of cancers. The disease is highly aggressive and typically diagnosed in late stage making it difficult to treat. Currently, the vast majority of therapeutic regimens have only modest curative effects, and [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among all types of cancers. The disease is highly aggressive and typically diagnosed in late stage making it difficult to treat. Currently, the vast majority of therapeutic regimens have only modest curative effects, and most of them are in the surgical/neo-adjuvant setting. There is a great need for new and more effective treatment strategies in common clinical practice. Previously, pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer was attributed solely to genetic mutations; however, recent advancements in the field have demonstrated that aberrant activation of epigenetic pathways contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of the disease. The identification of these aberrant activated epigenetic pathways has revealed enticing targets for the use of epigenetic inhibitors to mitigate the phenotypic changes driven by these cascades. These pathways have been found to be responsible for overactivation of growth signaling pathways and silencing of tumor suppressors and other cell cycle checkpoints. Furthermore, new miRNA signatures have been uncovered in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients, further widening the window for therapeutic opportunity. There has been success in preclinical settings using both epigenetic inhibitors as well as miRNAs to slow disease progression and eliminate diseased tissues. In addition to their utility as anti-proliferative agents, the pharmacological inhibitors that target epigenetic regulators (referred to here as readers, writers, and erasers for their ability to recognize, deposit, and remove post-translational modifications) have the potential to reconfigure the epigenetic landscape of diseased cells and disrupt the cancerous phenotype. The potential to “reprogram” cancer cells to revert them to a healthy state presents great promise and merits further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Role of Gene Therapy in Pancreatic Cancer—A Review
Cancers 2018, 10(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10040103
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 30 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2680 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mortality from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has remained essentially unchanged for decades and its relative contribution to overall cancer death is projected to only increase in the coming years. Current treatment for PDAC includes aggressive chemotherapy and surgical resection in a limited number [...] Read more.
Mortality from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has remained essentially unchanged for decades and its relative contribution to overall cancer death is projected to only increase in the coming years. Current treatment for PDAC includes aggressive chemotherapy and surgical resection in a limited number of patients, with median survival of optimal treatment rather dismal. Recent advances in gene therapies offer novel opportunities for treatment, even in those with locally advanced disease. In this review, we summarize emerging techniques to the design and administration of virotherapy, synthetic vectors, and gene-editing technology. Despite these promising advances, shortcomings continue to exist and here will also be highlighted those approaches to overcoming obstacles in current laboratory and clinical research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Should We Keep Walking along the Trail for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment? Revisiting TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand for Anticancer Therapy
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1673 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite recent advances in oncology, diagnosis, and therapy, treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is still exceedingly challenging. PDAC remains the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Poor prognosis is due to the aggressive growth behavior with early invasion and distant metastasis, [...] Read more.
Despite recent advances in oncology, diagnosis, and therapy, treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is still exceedingly challenging. PDAC remains the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Poor prognosis is due to the aggressive growth behavior with early invasion and distant metastasis, chemoresistance, and a current lack of adequate screening methods for early detection. Consequently, novel therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Many hopes for cancer treatment have been placed in the death ligand tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) since it was reported to induce apoptosis selectively in tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. TRAIL triggers apoptosis through binding of the trans-membrane death receptors TRAIL receptor 1 (TRAIL-R1) also death receptor 4 (DR4) and TRAIL receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2) also death receptor 5 (DR5) thereby inducing the formation of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and activation of the apoptotic cascade. Unlike chemotherapeutics, TRAIL was shown to be able to induce apoptosis in a p53-independent manner, making TRAIL a promising anticancer approach for p53-mutated tumors. These cancer-selective traits of TRAIL led to the development of TRAIL-R agonists, categorized into either recombinant variants of TRAIL or agonistic antibodies against TRAIL-R1 or TRAIL-R2. However, clinical trials making use of these agonists in various tumor entities including pancreatic cancer were disappointing so far. This is thought to be caused by TRAIL resistance of numerous primary tumor cells, an insufficient agonistic activity of the drug candidates tested, and a lack of suitable biomarkers for patient stratification. Nevertheless, recently gained knowledge on the biology of the TRAIL-TRAIL-R system might now provide the chance to overcome intrinsic or acquired resistance against TRAIL and TRAIL-R agonists. In this review, we summarize the status quo of clinical studies involving TRAIL-R agonists for the treatment of pancreatic cancer and critically discuss the suitability of utilizing the TRAIL-TRAIL-R system for successful treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Particle Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3952 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with poor survival outcomes. Recent studies have shown that the addition of radiotherapy to chemotherapy in the setting of locally advanced pancreatic cancer did not improve overall survival outcome. These studies commonly utilize conventional radiotherapy treatment fractionation [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with poor survival outcomes. Recent studies have shown that the addition of radiotherapy to chemotherapy in the setting of locally advanced pancreatic cancer did not improve overall survival outcome. These studies commonly utilize conventional radiotherapy treatment fractionation and technique (typically 3-D conformal radiotherapy or intensity modulated radiotherapy). Although no clear benefit in overall survival was demonstrated in those studies, those who received radiotherapy did have a clear benefit in terms of local control. Therefore, there is increasing interest in exploring different techniques and/or modality of radiotherapy and dose/fractionation. Stereotactic radiotherapy, which employs a hypofractionated regimen, has the potential advantage of delivering a high dose of radiation to the tumor in a short period of time (typically over 5 days) with minimal dose to the surrounding normal structures. Particle therapy such as proton and carbon ion therapy are being explored as potential radiation modality that could cause greater biological damage to the tumor compared to photon treatment, with rapid dose falloff resulting in minimal to no dose to adjacent structures. This review will discuss the current literature and emerging roles of stereotactic radiotherapy and particle therapy in pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Advanced EUS Guided Tissue Acquisition Methods for Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 17 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreas cancer is a lethal cancer as the majority patients are diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage. Despite improvements in diagnostic modalities and management strategies, including surgery and chemotherapies, the outcome of pancreas cancer remains poor. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an important imaging [...] Read more.
Pancreas cancer is a lethal cancer as the majority patients are diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage. Despite improvements in diagnostic modalities and management strategies, including surgery and chemotherapies, the outcome of pancreas cancer remains poor. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an important imaging tool for pancreas cancer. For decades, resected pancreas cancer and other cancer specimens have been used to identify tissue biomarkers or genomics for precision therapy; however, only 20% of patients undergo surgery, and thus, this framework is not useful for unresectable pancreas cancer. With advancements in needle technologies, tumor specimens can be obtained at the time of tissue diagnosis. Tumor tissue can be used for development of personalized cancer treatment, such as performing whole exome sequencing and global genomic profiling of pancreas cancer, development of tissue biomarkers, and targeted mutational assays for precise chemotherapy treatment. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in tissue acquisition of pancreas cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessReview Next Generation Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer: DNA Vaccination is Seeking New Combo Partners
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1985 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an almost incurable radio- and chemo-resistant tumor, and its microenvironment is characterized by a strong desmoplastic reaction associated with a significant infiltration of T regulatory lymphocytes and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (Tregs, MDSC). Investigating immunological targets has identified a [...] Read more.
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an almost incurable radio- and chemo-resistant tumor, and its microenvironment is characterized by a strong desmoplastic reaction associated with a significant infiltration of T regulatory lymphocytes and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (Tregs, MDSC). Investigating immunological targets has identified a number of metabolic and cytoskeletal related molecules, which are typically recognized by circulating antibodies. Among these molecules we have investigated alpha-enolase (ENO1), a glycolytic enzyme that also acts a plasminogen receptor. ENO1 is also recognized by T cells in PDA patients, so we developed a DNA vaccine that targets ENO1. This efficiently induces many immunological processes (antibody formation and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC)-mediated tumor killing, infiltration of effector T cells, reduction of infiltration of myeloid and Treg suppressor cells), which significantly increase the survival of genetically engineered mice that spontaneously develop pancreatic cancer. Although promising, the ENO1 DNA vaccine does not completely eradicate the tumor, which, after an initial growth inhibition, returns to proliferate again, especially when Tregs and MDSC ensue in the tumor mass. This led us to develop possible strategies for combinatorial treatments aimed to broaden and sustain the antitumor immune response elicited by DNA vaccination. Based on the data we have obtained in recent years, this review will discuss the biological bases of possible combinatorial treatments (chemotherapy, PI3K inhibitors, tumor-associated macrophages, ENO1 inhibitors) that could be effective in amplifying the response induced by the immune vaccination in PDA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Alleviating Pancreatic Cancer-Associated Pain Using Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Neurolysis
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 15 February 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The most common symptom in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is abdominal pain. This has traditionally been treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid analgesics. However, these treatments result in inadequate pain control or drug-related adverse effects in some patients. An alternative pain-relief [...] Read more.
The most common symptom in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is abdominal pain. This has traditionally been treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid analgesics. However, these treatments result in inadequate pain control or drug-related adverse effects in some patients. An alternative pain-relief modality is celiac plexus neurolysis, in which the celiac plexus is chemically ablated. This procedure was performed percutaneously or intraoperatively until 1996, when endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided celiac plexus neurolysis was first described. In this transgastric anterior approach, a neurolytic agent is injected around the celiac trunk under EUS guidance. The procedure gained popularity as a minimally invasive approach and is currently widely used to treat pancreatic cancer-associated pain. We focus on two relatively new techniques of EUS-guided neurolysis: EUS-guided celiac ganglia neurolysis and EUS-guided broad plexus neurolysis, which have been developed to improve efficacy. Although the techniques are safe and effective in general, some serious adverse events including ischemic and infectious complications have been reported as the procedure has gained widespread popularity. We summarize reported clinical outcomes of EUS-guided neurolysis in pancreatic cancer (from the PubMed and Embase databases) with a goal of providing information useful in developing strategies for pancreatic cancer-associated pain alleviation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Early Diagnosis to Improve the Poor Prognosis of Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer (PC) has a poor prognosis due to delayed diagnosis. Early diagnosis is the most important factor for improving prognosis. For early diagnosis of PC, patients with clinical manifestations suggestive of PC and high risk for developing PC need to be selected [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer (PC) has a poor prognosis due to delayed diagnosis. Early diagnosis is the most important factor for improving prognosis. For early diagnosis of PC, patients with clinical manifestations suggestive of PC and high risk for developing PC need to be selected for examinations for PC. Signs suggestive of PC (e.g., symptoms, diabetes mellitus, acute pancreatitis, or abnormal results of blood examinations) should not be missed, and the details of risks for PC (e.g., familial history of PC, intraductal mucin producing neoplasm, chronic pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis, or life habit) should be understood. Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be performed for diagnosing PC, but the diagnostic ability of these examinations for PC is limited. Endoscopic diagnostic procedures, such as endoscopic ultrasonography, including fine-needle aspiration, and endoscopic retrograde pancreatocholangiography, including Serial Pancreatic-juice Aspiration Cytologic Examination (SPACE), could be recommended for a detailed examination to diagnose pancreatic carcinoma earlier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessReview Precision Immuno-Oncology: Prospects of Individualized Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer, most commonly referring to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), remains one of the most deadly diseases, with very few effective therapies available. Emerging as a new modality of modern cancer treatments, immunotherapy has shown promises for various cancer types. Over the past [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer, most commonly referring to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), remains one of the most deadly diseases, with very few effective therapies available. Emerging as a new modality of modern cancer treatments, immunotherapy has shown promises for various cancer types. Over the past decades, the potential of immunotherapy in eliciting clinical benefits in pancreatic cancer have also been extensively explored. It has been demonstrated in preclinical studies and early phase clinical trials that cancer vaccines were effective in eliciting anti-tumor immune response, but few have led to a significant improvement in survival. Despite the fact that immunotherapy with checkpoint blockade (e.g., anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 [CTLA-4] and anti-programmed cell death 1 [PD-1]/PD-L1 antibodies) has shown remarkable and durable responses in various cancer types, the application of checkpoint inhibitors in pancreatic cancer has been disappointing so far. It may, in part, due to the unique tumor microenvironment (TME) of pancreatic cancer, such as existence of excessive stromal matrix and hypovascularity, creating a TME of strong inhibitory signaling circuits and tremendous physical barriers for immune agent infiltration. This informs on the need for combination therapy approaches to engender a potent immune response that can translate to clinical benefits. On the other hand, lack of effective and validated biomarkers to stratify subgroup of patients who can benefit from immunotherapy poses further challenges for the realization of precision immune-oncology. Future studies addressing issues such as TME modulation, biomarker identification and therapeutic combination are warranted. In this review, advances in immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer were discussed and opportunities as well as challenges for personalized immune-oncology were addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Targeted Therapies for Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death and by 2030, it will be second only to lung cancer. We have seen tremendous advances in therapies for lung cancer as well as other solid tumors using a molecular targeted approach [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death and by 2030, it will be second only to lung cancer. We have seen tremendous advances in therapies for lung cancer as well as other solid tumors using a molecular targeted approach but our progress in treating pancreatic cancer has been incremental with median overall survival remaining less than one year. There is an urgent need for improved therapies with better efficacy and less toxicity. Small molecule inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies and immune modulatory therapies have been used. Here we review the progress that we have made with these targeted therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Reviewing the Utility of EUS FNA to Advance Precision Medicine in Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Advanced pancreatic cancer (PC) is an aggressive malignancy with few effective therapeutic options. While the evolution of precision medicine in recent decades has changed the treatment landscape in many cancers, at present no targeted therapies are used in the routine management of PC. [...] Read more.
Advanced pancreatic cancer (PC) is an aggressive malignancy with few effective therapeutic options. While the evolution of precision medicine in recent decades has changed the treatment landscape in many cancers, at present no targeted therapies are used in the routine management of PC. Only a minority of patients with PC present with surgically resectable disease, and in the remainder obtaining high quality biopsy material for both diagnosis and molecular testing can prove challenging. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS FNA) is a widely used diagnostic procedure in PC, and allows tumour sampling in patients with both early and late stage disease. This review will provide an update on the role of EUS FNA as a diagnostic tool, as well as a source of genetic material which can be used both for molecular analysis and for the creation of valuable preclinical disease models. We will also consider relevant clinical applications of EUS FNA in the management of PC, and the path towards bringing precision medicine closer to the clinic in this challenging disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Extracellular Influences: Molecular Subclasses and the Microenvironment in Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1021 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most prevalent form of pancreatic cancer and carries the worst prognosis of all common cancers. Five-year survival rates have not surpassed 6% for some decades and this lack of improvement in outcome urges a better understanding of [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most prevalent form of pancreatic cancer and carries the worst prognosis of all common cancers. Five-year survival rates have not surpassed 6% for some decades and this lack of improvement in outcome urges a better understanding of the PDAC-specific features which contribute to this poor result. One of the most defining features of PDAC known to contribute to its progression is the abundance of non-tumor cells and material collectively known as the stroma. It is now well recognized that the different non-cancer cell types, signalling molecules, and mechanical properties within a tumor can have both tumor-promoting as well as –inhibitory effects. However, the net effect of this intratumour heterogeneity is not well understood. Heterogeneity in the stromal makeup between patients is even less well established. Such intertumour heterogeneity is likely to be affected by the relative contributions of individual stromal constituents, but how these contributions exactly relate to existing classifications that demarcate intertumour heterogeneity in PDAC is not fully known. In this review, we give an overview of the available evidence by delineating the elements of the PDAC stroma and their contribution to tumour growth. We do so by interpreting the heterogeneity at the gene expression level in PDAC, and how stromal elements contribute to, or interconnect, with this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview The Ever-Evolving Concept of the Cancer Stem Cell in Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (5196 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer, is the 4th most frequent cause of cancer-related death worldwide, primarily due to the inherent chemoresistant nature and metastatic capacity of this tumor. The latter is believed to be mainly due to [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer, is the 4th most frequent cause of cancer-related death worldwide, primarily due to the inherent chemoresistant nature and metastatic capacity of this tumor. The latter is believed to be mainly due to the existence of a subpopulation of highly plastic “stem”-like cells within the tumor, known as cancer stem cells (CSCs), which have been shown to have unique metabolic, autophagic, invasive, and chemoresistance properties that allow them to continuously self-renew and escape chemo-therapeutic elimination. As such, current treatments for the majority of PDAC patients are not effective and do not significantly impact overall patient survival (<7 months) as they do not affect the pancreatic CSC (PaCSC) population. In this context, it is important to highlight the need to better understand the characteristics of the PaCSC population in order to develop new therapies to target these cells. In this review, we will provide the latest updates and knowledge on the inherent characteristics of PaCSCs, particularly their unique biological properties including chemoresistance, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, plasticity, metabolism and autophagy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Contemporary Management of Localized Resectable Pancreatic Cancer
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 20 January 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Surgical resection with negative margins still constitutes the cornerstone of potentially curative therapy, but is possible only in 15–20% of patients at the time of initial diagnosis. Accumulating [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Surgical resection with negative margins still constitutes the cornerstone of potentially curative therapy, but is possible only in 15–20% of patients at the time of initial diagnosis. Accumulating evidence suggests that the neoadjuvant approach may improve R0 resection rate in localized resectable and borderline resectable diseases, and potentially downstage locally advanced disease to achieve surgical resection, though the impact on survival is to be determined. Despite advancements in the last decade in developing effective combinational chemo-radio therapeutic options, preoperative treatment strategies, and better peri-operative care, pancreatic cancer continues to carry a dismal prognosis in the majority. Prodigious efforts are currently being made in optimizing the neoadjuvant therapy with a better toxicity profile, developing novel agents, imaging techniques, and identification of biomarkers for the disease. Advancement in our understanding of the tumor microenvironment and molecular pathology is urgently needed to facilitate the development of novel targeted and immunotherapies for this setting. In this review, we detail the current literature on contemporary management of resectable, borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer with a focus on future directions in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
Open AccessReview Advances in Molecular Profiling and Categorisation of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma and the Implications for Therapy
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) continues to be a disease with poor outcomes and short-lived treatment responses. New information is emerging from genome sequencing identifying potential subgroups based on somatic and germline mutations. A variety of different mutations and mutational signatures have been identified; [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) continues to be a disease with poor outcomes and short-lived treatment responses. New information is emerging from genome sequencing identifying potential subgroups based on somatic and germline mutations. A variety of different mutations and mutational signatures have been identified; the driver mutation in around 93% of PDAC is KRAS, with other recorded alterations being SMAD4 and CDKN2A. Mutations in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage repair pathway have also been investigated in PDAC and multiple clinical trials are ongoing with DNA-damaging agents. Rare mutations in BRAF and microsatellite instability (MSI) have been reported in about 1–3% of patients with PDAC, and agents used in other cancers to target these have also shown some promise. Immunotherapy is a developing field, but has failed to demonstrate benefits in PDAC to date. While many trials have failed to improve outcomes in this deadly disease, there is optimism that by developing a better understanding of the translational aspects of this cancer, future informed therapeutic strategies may prove more successful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A Review of Local Ablative Therapies
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer is typically characterized by its aggressive tumor growth and dismal prognosis. Approximately 30% of patients with pancreatic cancer present with locally advanced disease, broadly defined as having a tumor-to-artery interface >180°, having an unreconstructable portal vein or superior mesenteric vein and [...] Read more.
Pancreatic cancer is typically characterized by its aggressive tumor growth and dismal prognosis. Approximately 30% of patients with pancreatic cancer present with locally advanced disease, broadly defined as having a tumor-to-artery interface >180°, having an unreconstructable portal vein or superior mesenteric vein and no signs of metastatic disease. These patients are currently designated to palliative systemic chemotherapy, though median overall survival remains poor (approximately 11 months). Therefore, several innovative local therapies have been investigated as new treatment options for locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC). This article provides an overview of available data with regard to morbidity and oncological outcome of novel local therapies for LAPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Targeting Pancreatic Cancer Cell Plasticity: The Latest in Therapeutics
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1791 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mortality remains alarmingly high for patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), with 93% succumbing to the disease within five years. The vast majority of PDAC cases are driven by activating mutations in the proto-oncogene KRAS, which results in constitutive proliferation and survival [...] Read more.
Mortality remains alarmingly high for patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), with 93% succumbing to the disease within five years. The vast majority of PDAC cases are driven by activating mutations in the proto-oncogene KRAS, which results in constitutive proliferation and survival signaling. As efforts to target RAS and its downstream effectors continue, parallel research aimed at identifying novel targets is also needed in order to improve therapeutic options and efficacy. Recent studies demonstrate that self-renewing cancer stem cells (CSCs) contribute to metastatic dissemination and therapy failure, the causes of mortality from PDAC. Here, we discuss current challenges in PDAC therapeutics, highlight the contribution of mesenchymal/CSC plasticity to PDAC pathogenesis, and propose that targeting the drivers of plasticity will prove beneficial. Increasingly, intrinsic oncogenic and extrinsic pro-growth/survival signaling emanating from the tumor microenvironment (TME) are being implicated in the de novo generation of CSC and regulation of tumor cell plasticity. An improved understanding of key regulators of PDAC plasticity is providing new potential avenues for targeting the properties associated with CSC (including enhanced invasion and migration, metastatic outgrowth, and resistance to therapy). Finally, we describe the growing field of therapeutics directed at cancer stem cells and cancer cell plasticity in order to improve the lives of patients with PDAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Immune Evasion in Pancreatic Cancer: From Mechanisms to Therapy
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), the most frequent type of pancreatic cancer, remains one of the most challenging problems for the biomedical and clinical fields, with abysmal survival rates and poor therapy efficiency. Desmoplasia, which is abundant in PDA, can be blamed for much [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), the most frequent type of pancreatic cancer, remains one of the most challenging problems for the biomedical and clinical fields, with abysmal survival rates and poor therapy efficiency. Desmoplasia, which is abundant in PDA, can be blamed for much of the mechanisms behind poor drug performance, as it is the main source of the cytokines and chemokines that orchestrate rapid and silent tumor progression to allow tumor cells to be isolated into an extensive fibrotic reaction, which results in inefficient drug delivery. However, since immunotherapy was proclaimed as the breakthrough of the year in 2013, the focus on the stroma of pancreatic cancer has interestingly moved from activated fibroblasts to the immune compartment, trying to understand the immunosuppressive factors that play a part in the strong immune evasion that characterizes PDA. The PDA microenvironment is highly immunosuppressive and is basically composed of T regulatory cells (Tregs), tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), and myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSCs), which block CD8+ T-cell duties in tumor recognition and clearance. Interestingly, preclinical data have highlighted the importance of this immune evasion as the source of resistance to single checkpoint immunotherapies and cancer vaccines and point at pathways that inhibit the immune attack as a key to solve the therapy puzzle. Here, we will discuss the molecular mechanisms involved in PDA immune escape as well as the state of the art of the PDA immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Open AccessReview Lipid Metabolism and Lipid Droplets in Pancreatic Cancer and Stellate Cells
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 23 December 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1367 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030, and the overall 5-year survival rate is currently less than 7%. Cancer cells frequently exhibit reprogramming of their metabolic activity. It is increasingly recognized that aberrant de novo lipid [...] Read more.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to become the second deadliest cancer by 2030, and the overall 5-year survival rate is currently less than 7%. Cancer cells frequently exhibit reprogramming of their metabolic activity. It is increasingly recognized that aberrant de novo lipid synthesis and reprogrammed lipid metabolism are both associated with the development and progression of various cancers, including pancreatic cancer. In this review, the current knowledge about lipid metabolism and lipid droplets in pancreatic cancer is discussed. In the first part, molecular mechanisms of lipid metabolism and roles of enzymes involved in lipid metabolism which are relevant for pancreatic cancer research are presented. Further, preclinical studies and clinical trials with drugs/inhibitors targeting cancer metabolic systems in cancer are summarized. An increase of our knowledge in lipid metabolism in pancreatic cancer cells and in tumor stroma is important for developing novel strategies of future individualized therapies of pancreatic cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Development in Pancreatic Cancer)
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