Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy (Jul 2021)

The molecular biology of pancreatic adenocarcinoma: translational challenges and clinical perspectives

  • Shun Wang,
  • Yan Zheng,
  • Feng Yang,
  • Le Zhu,
  • Xiao-Qiang Zhu,
  • Zhe-Fang Wang,
  • Xiao-Lin Wu,
  • Cheng-Hui Zhou,
  • Jia-Yan Yan,
  • Bei-Yuan Hu,
  • Bo Kong,
  • De-Liang Fu,
  • Christiane Bruns,
  • Yue Zhao,
  • Lun-Xiu Qin,
  • Qiong-Zhu Dong

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1
pp. 1 – 23


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Abstract Pancreatic cancer is an increasingly common cause of cancer mortality with a tight correspondence between disease mortality and incidence. Furthermore, it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage with a very dismal prognosis. Due to the high heterogeneity, metabolic reprogramming, and dense stromal environment associated with pancreatic cancer, patients benefit little from current conventional therapy. Recent insight into the biology and genetics of pancreatic cancer has supported its molecular classification, thus expanding clinical therapeutic options. In this review, we summarize how the biological features of pancreatic cancer and its metabolic reprogramming as well as the tumor microenvironment regulate its development and progression. We further discuss potential biomarkers for pancreatic cancer diagnosis, prediction, and surveillance based on novel liquid biopsies. We also outline recent advances in defining pancreatic cancer subtypes and subtype-specific therapeutic responses and current preclinical therapeutic models. Finally, we discuss prospects and challenges in the clinical development of pancreatic cancer therapeutics.