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: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00545129.