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Front Physiol. 2014 Mar 3;5:87. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00087. eCollection 2014.

Genetic determinants and potential therapeutic targets for pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

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1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States, carrying a 5-year survival rate of approximately 5%, which is the poorest prognosis of any solid tumor type. Given the dismal prognosis associated with PDAC, a more thorough understanding of risk factors and genetic predisposition has important implications not only for cancer prevention, but also for screening techniques and the development of personalized therapies. While screening of the general population is not recommended or practicable with current diagnostic methods, studies are ongoing to evaluate its usefulness in people with at least 5- to 10-fold increased risk of PDAC. In order to help identify high-risk populations who would be most likely to benefit from early detection screening tests for pancreatic cancer, discovery of additional pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes is crucial. Thus, specific gene-based, gene-product, and marker-based testing for the early detection of pancreatic cancer are currently being developed, with the potential for these to be useful as potential therapeutic targets as well. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of the genetic basis for PDAC with a focus on germline and familial determinants. A discussion of potential therapeutic targets and future directions in screening and treatment is also provided.

KEYWORDS:

familiar pancreatic cancer; pancreatic cancer oncogenes; pancreatic cancer syndromes; pancreatic cancer tumor suppressor genes; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

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