Perineural invasion and associated pain in pancreatic cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Sep 23;11(10):695-707. doi: 10.1038/nrc3131.


Perineural invasion (PNI) is a prominent characteristic of pancreatic cancer. PNI is a process whereby cancer cells invade the surrounding nerves, thus providing an alternative route for metastatic spread and pain generation. PNI is thought to be an indicator of aggressive tumour behaviour and has been shown to correlate with poor prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer. Recent studies demonstrated that some signalling molecules and pathways that are involved in PNI are also involved in pain generation. Targeting these signalling pathways has shown some promise in alleviating pain and reducing PNI, which could potentially improve treatment outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Trial registration: NCT00545129.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / genetics
  • Pain / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / complications
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / genetics
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms / secondary*

Associated data