Molecular and Genetic Bases of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer remains a formidable challenge for oncologists and patients alike. Despite intensive efforts, attempts at improving survival in the past 15 years, particularly in advanced disease, have failed. This is true even with the introduction of molecularly targeted agents, chosen on the basis of their action on pathways that were supposedly important in pancreatic cancer development and progression: indeed, with the notable exception of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor erlotinib, that has provided a minimal survival improvement when added to gemcitabine, other agents targeting EGFR, matrix metallo-proteases, farnesyl transferase, or vascular endothelial growth factor have not succeeded in improving outcomes over standard gemcitabine monotherapy for a variety of different reasons. However, recent developments in the molecular epidemiology of pancreatic cancer and an ever evolving understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying pancreatic cancer initiation and progression raise renewed hope to find novel, relevant therapeutic targets that could be pursued in the clinical setting. In this review we focus on molecular epidemiology of pancreatic cancer, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and its influence on sensitivity to EGFR-targeted approaches, apoptotic pathways, hypoxia-related pathways, developmental pathways (such as the hedgehog and Notch pathways), and proteomic analysis as keys to a better understanding of pancreatic cancer biology and, most importantly, as a source of novel molecular targets to be exploited therapeutically.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2012
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- Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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