Background: Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of all solid tumours of the gastrointestinal tract. It is characterized by late diagnosis, aggressive local invasion, early metastasis and resistance to chemoradiotherapy. Increasing knowledge regarding the molecular events behind the growth and invasion of pancreatic cancer may lead to new targets for intervention.
Methods: A search of Pubmed and Medline databases was undertaken using the keywords pancreatic cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, hypoxia, angiogenesis and anti-angiogenesis therapy.
Results: Hypoxia is the driving force behind angiogenesis in pancreatic cancers. Research into angiogenesis has shown many different sites that can be targeted by agents such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Conclusion: Anti-angiogenic therapy could be an important adjunct to conventional chemotherapy treatment of gastrointestinal neoplasia.