Employing Metabolism to Improve the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer Cell. 2017 Jan 9;31(1):5-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2016.12.006.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is on pace to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death. The high mortality rate results from a lack of methods for early detection and the inability to successfully treat patients once diagnosed. Pancreatic cancer cells have extensively reprogrammed metabolism, which is driven by oncogene-mediated cell-autonomous pathways, the unique physiology of the tumor microenvironment, and interactions with non-cancer cells. In this review, we discuss how recent efforts delineating rewired metabolic networks in pancreatic cancer have revealed new in-roads to develop detection and treatment strategies for this dreadful disease.

Keywords: FDG-PET; HP-MRI; Kras; PDAC; metabolic crosstalk; metabolic imaging; metabolic reprogramming; pancreatic cancer; stroma; tumor metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / therapy
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Glutamine
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Metformin
  • Glucose