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Roles of gastrointestinal hormones in pancreatic cancer.

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The Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.


Several gastrointestinal (GI) hormones, such as gastrin, cholecystokinin, and bombesin, have been reported to affect the development of pancreatic cancer. The receptors for these hormones are found in normal and neoplastic pancreatic cells. Activation of these receptors enhances pancreatic carcinogenesis and promotes the growth of established pancreatic carcinoma either in vitro or in vivo. On the other hand, some studies have shown that these GI hormones may have no effect or may play an inhibitory role in the development of pancreatic cancer. The reasons for the apparent discrepancies in the published literature are discussed in this review. In recent years, increasing emphasis has been placed on the effects of GI hormones on cancer invasion and metastasis. As the transition from noninvasion to the invasive state is the crucial event in cancer development, further investigation of the way in which GI hormones affect the invasion and metastasis of pancreatic cancer may be important for the development of new therapeutic approaches with eventual clinical utility.

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