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Trends Mol Med. 2013 May;19(5):320-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 Mar 29.

Notch signaling in pancreatic cancer: oncogene or tumor suppressor?

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Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The Notch signaling pathways are known to play critical roles during pancreatic development, but it remains unclear what functions are important in the adult organ. One area of debate is the role of Notch signaling in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and proposed precursor lesions, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN). Initial studies revealed that Notch signaling is reactivated during PDAC initiation and development, suggesting that Notch promotes PDAC and may therefore represent a target for drug development. However, more recent work reveals a tumor suppressive role for Notch receptors in the context of PanIN development. Here, we summarize the current literature describing Notch signaling in the development of PDAC, and discuss the potential of the Notch pathway as a therapeutic target.

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