Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a devastating disease, and patient outcomes have not improved in decades. Treatments that target tumor cells have largely failed. This could be because research has focused on cancer cells and the influence of the stroma on tumor progression has been largely ignored. The focus of pancreatic cancer research began to change with the identification of pancreatic stellate cells, which produce the pancreatic tumor stroma. There is compelling in vitro and in vivo evidence for the influence of pancreatic stellate cells on pancreatic cancer development; several recent preclinical studies have reported encouraging results with approaches designed to target pancreatic stellate cells and the stroma. We review the background and recent advances in these areas, along with important areas of future research that could improve therapy.
Copyright © 2013 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.