Background: Improvement in the prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer, novel effective screening and diagnostic strategies and treatments are needed. Recent advances in the understanding of pancreatic carcinogenesis and tumor microenvironment have allowed identification of biomarkers for screening, diagnosis and prediction of cancer treatments, including novel therapies targeting specific cancer or stromal cell subpopulations. Personalized therapy in pancreatic cancer is also promising as several drugs such as S1, capecitabine and gemcitabine reportedly have significant therapeutic effects. Predictive markers are thus needed to select patients most likely to benefit from therapies based on gemcitabine or other drugs.
Summary: We review the clinical significance of promising screening, diagnostic, predictive and prognostic biomarkers based on genetic and epigenetic alterations and microRNA abnormalities in pancreatic cancer. We also review new types of biomarkers based on stromal cells, such as pancreatic stellate cells, in the microenvironment of pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: Biomarker; Pancreatic cancer; Pancreatic stellate cell.