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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers in humans due to late detection and highly metastatic characteristics. PDAC cells vary in their tumorigenic capabilities with the presence of a subset of PDAC cells known as pancreatic cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are more resistant to currently used therapeutics. Here, we describe the role of CSCs and tumour stroma in developing therapeutic strategies for PDAC and suggest that developmental plasticity could be considered a hallmark of cancers. We provide an overview of the molecular targets in PDAC treatments, including targeted therapies of cellular processes such as proliferation, evasion of growth suppressors, activating metastasis, and metabolic effects. Since PDAC is an inflammation-driven cancer, we also revisit therapeutic strategies targeting inflammation and immunotherapy. Lastly, we suggest that targeting epigenetic mechanisms opens therapeutic routes for heterogeneous cancer cell populations, including CSCs.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends pharmacol sci

Publication Date





977 - 993


cancer hallmarks, cancer stem cells, cancer therapy, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, signalling pathways, tumour stroma