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World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2011 Nov 15;3(11):153-64. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v3.i11.153.

Molecular predictors of gemcitabine response in pancreatic cancer.

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Ioannis A Voutsadakis, Centre Pluridisciplinaire d'Oncologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland.


Gemcitabine is one of the most used anti-neoplastic drugs with documented activity in almost all major localizations of cancer. In pancreatic cancer treatment, gemcitabine occupies a prominent place as a first line chemotherapy, partly because of the paucity of other efficacious chemotherapy options. In fact, only a minority of pancreatic cancer patients display a response or even stability of disease with the drug. There are currently no clinically applicable means of predicting which patient will derive a clinical benefit from gemcitabine although several proposed markers have been studied. These markers are proteins involved in drug up-take, activation and catabolism or proteins that define the ability of the cell to undergo apoptosis in response to the drug. Several of these markers are reviewed in this paper. We also briefly discuss the possible role of stem cells in drug resistance to gemcitabine.


Akt kinase; Chemotherapy; Drug resistance; Gemcitabine; Metabolism; Nuclear factor-κB; Pancreatic cancer

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