Do You See What I See?
December 08, 2013 – Emily Morrison
Pancreatic Cancer Advocates Unite
December 08, 2013 – Julie Fleshman
Pipeline
December 09, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
The Challenges of Distance Caregiving
December 09, 2013 – Jane Hill
Adult Siblings Often Coordinate Parental Support
December 09, 2013 – Jane Hill
What Could Cause Cognitive Dysfunction after Cancer?
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Pharmacologic Approaches to Cognitive Dysfunction
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Finding Solutions for Chemobrain
December 08, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after Childhood Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Late Effects & Premature Aging After Pediatric Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Health Problems Common in Survivors of Pediatric Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Post-Mastectomy Pain Hits a Nerve
December 09, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Advances in Screening & Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Changing Course in Pancreatic Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Tumor Evolution
December 08, 2013 – Katy Human
Solving the Treatment Resistance Riddle
December 09, 2013 – Katy Human
For Caregivers: Tips Before Planning that "End of Treatment" Party
December 09, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Why Observing Treatment Milestones is an Individual Decision
December 09, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Searching for an Oncology Surgeon
December 08, 2013 – Katherine Hobson
Is Robot-Assisted Surgery the Best Treatment for Your Cancer?
December 08, 2013 – Katherine Hobson
How I Lost My Uterus and Found My Voice
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Personalized Medicine Should Include High-Quality, High-Value Care
December 09, 2013 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Website Retooled to Help Visitors Navigate Medicare
December 08, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Poor Kidney Function a Possibility in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Dispatch: Society for Integrative Oncology's 10th Annual Meeting
December 09, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Reel Recovery Retreats
December 09, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Studies Confirm Effectiveness of Colorectal Cancer Screening
December 09, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
Michael Douglas Reveals He Had Tongue Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Dose of Reality Effective at Stopping Smokers
December 09, 2013 – Lena Huang
FDA's Breakthrough Therapy Designation Aims to Speed Drug Approvals
December 08, 2013 – Susan Jenks
ASH Updates
December 08, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
Message From the Editor
December 09, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Letters From Readers
December 08, 2013
Do You See What I See?
December 08, 2013 – Emily Morrison
Pancreatic Cancer Advocates Unite
December 08, 2013 – Julie Fleshman
Pipeline
December 09, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
The Challenges of Distance Caregiving
December 09, 2013 – Jane Hill
Adult Siblings Often Coordinate Parental Support
December 09, 2013 – Jane Hill
What Could Cause Cognitive Dysfunction after Cancer?
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Pharmacologic Approaches to Cognitive Dysfunction
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Finding Solutions for Chemobrain
December 08, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after Childhood Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Late Effects & Premature Aging After Pediatric Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Health Problems Common in Survivors of Pediatric Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Post-Mastectomy Pain Hits a Nerve
December 09, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Advances in Screening & Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Changing Course in Pancreatic Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Tumor Evolution
December 08, 2013 – Katy Human
Solving the Treatment Resistance Riddle
December 09, 2013 – Katy Human
For Caregivers: Tips Before Planning that "End of Treatment" Party
December 09, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Why Observing Treatment Milestones is an Individual Decision
December 09, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Searching for an Oncology Surgeon
December 08, 2013 – Katherine Hobson
Is Robot-Assisted Surgery the Best Treatment for Your Cancer?
December 08, 2013 – Katherine Hobson
How I Lost My Uterus and Found My Voice
December 09, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Personalized Medicine Should Include High-Quality, High-Value Care
December 09, 2013 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Website Retooled to Help Visitors Navigate Medicare
December 08, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Poor Kidney Function a Possibility in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Dispatch: Society for Integrative Oncology's 10th Annual Meeting
December 09, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Reel Recovery Retreats
December 09, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Studies Confirm Effectiveness of Colorectal Cancer Screening
December 09, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
Michael Douglas Reveals He Had Tongue Cancer
December 09, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Dose of Reality Effective at Stopping Smokers
December 09, 2013 – Lena Huang
FDA's Breakthrough Therapy Designation Aims to Speed Drug Approvals
December 08, 2013 – Susan Jenks
ASH Updates
December 08, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
Currently Viewing
Message From the Editor
December 09, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Whole Foods Help Against Cancer
December 07, 2013 – Jeanne Erdmann

Message From the Editor

Pancreatic cancer as a paradigm.

BY Debu Tripathy, MD
PUBLISHED December 09, 2013

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Given the location of the pancreas, tumors are often discovered at later stages when symptoms occur. But even when detected early, this cancer has a high risk of recurrence following surgery and is not very responsive to therapy.

What makes pancreatic cancer such a bad actor in the first place? We know that certain mutations, such as in the KRAS gene that is seen in more than 90 percent of cases, can lead to more aggressive growth and treatment resistance. Cigarette smoking can also contribute, in that tobacco-induced mutations in lung, head and neck and pancreatic cancers lead to “meaner cells,” sort of like growing up in a bad neighborhood. Also, the abnormal function of the pancreas increases the risk of secondary complications such as diabetes and blood clots—both of which worsen the overall prognosis.

Pancreatic cancer is, therefore, a paradigm for the notion that if we can discover and develop more successful treatment strategies for a very tough malignancy, we should be able to translate that success to other malignancies. Progress has been made but we have a long way to go. Still, early foundations for success are being laid. A team led by Arizona-based researcher and innovator Daniel Von Hoff recently published results of a phase 3 study showing improved overall survival in participants who took a new drug combination. Advocacy and awareness have increased, generating more patient resources and research support by groups, such as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Newer surgical techniques and less invasive approaches allow a larger number of patients to be candidates for potentially curative resections.

While small gains are being made with newer chemotherapy agents, pancreatic cancer is ripe for more sweeping changes, such as those we have seen in the last few years in melanoma and kidney cancer. May the trend continue—and spill over to other cancer types.

Debu Tripathy, MD
Editor-in-Chief
Professor of Medicine, University of Southern California
Co-Leader, Women’s Cancer Program at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In