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J Cell Biochem. 2009 May 1;107(1):40-5. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22093.

Pancreatic cancer stem cells and relevance to cancer treatments.

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Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Pancreatic cancer continues to be a malignancy with few therapeutic options. The majority of patients that present for an evaluation have locally advanced or metastatic disease that is incurable by surgical approaches. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance of pancreatic adenocarcinomas limits the efficacy of these therapeutic approaches. Recent evidence supports the existence of human pancreatic cancer stem cells, which appear to drive tumor initiation and progression and are particularly resistant to cell death induced by radiation or chemotherapy. Understanding the mechanisms of pancreatic cancer stem cell self-renewal and resistance to standard therapies may lead to new, more effective therapies to treat this dismal disease.

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