Role of inflammation in pancreatic carcinogenesis and the implications for future therapy

Pancreatology. 2005;5(6):514-29. doi: 10.1159/000087493. Epub 2005 Aug 16.


Background: The link between inflammation and pancreatic cancer has been observed for a number of gastrointestinal neoplasms. This review examines the role of inflammation in pancreatic carcinogenesis and how it can be utilised to develop new therapies against pancreatic cancer.

Methods: A literature review of Pubmed, Medline and Web of Science databases was undertaken using the key words, pancreatic cancer, inflammation, inducible nitric oxide, interleukins, pro-inflammatory cytokines, cyclooxygenase-2, NF-kappa B, reactive oxygen species, DNA adducts, lipoxygenases, chemoprevention.

Results: Epidemiological evidence and molecular studies both in vitro and in vivo all support the hypothesis that inflammation plays an important in the initiation and progression of pancreatic tumours.

Conclusion: Sustained damage caused by chronic inflammation may precede the onset of frank malignancy by a significant interval. As such, suppression of inflammatory changes and oxidative damage, may help delay or even prevent the inception of pancreatic neoplasia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukins / physiology
  • Lipoxygenase / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pancreatitis / complications*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Risk


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Lipoxygenase
  • NOS2 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases