Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Current and Evolving Therapies

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jun 22;18(7):1338. doi: 10.3390/ijms18071338.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which constitutes 90% of pancreatic cancers, is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Due to the broad heterogeneity of genetic mutations and dense stromal environment, PDAC belongs to one of the most chemoresistant cancers. Most of the available treatments are palliative, with the objective of relieving disease-related symptoms and prolonging survival. Currently, available therapeutic options are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and use of targeted drugs. However, thus far, therapies targeting cancer-associated molecular pathways have not given satisfactory results; this is due in part to the rapid upregulation of compensatory alternative pathways as well as dense desmoplastic reaction. In this review, we summarize currently available therapies and clinical trials, directed towards a plethora of pathways and components dysregulated during PDAC carcinogenesis. Emerging trends towards targeted therapies as the most promising approach will also be discussed.

Keywords: Abraxane; FOLFIRINOX; PDAC; chemotherapy; combination therapies; gemcitabine; targeted therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumin-Bound Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / prevention & control
  • Pancreatic Ducts / drug effects
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatic Ducts / surgery
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Albumin-Bound Paclitaxel
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Gemcitabine