Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains one of the most lethal human solid tumors, despite great efforts in improving therapeutics over the past few decades. In PDAC, the distinct characteristic of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is the main barrier for developing effective treatments. PDAC TME is characterized by a dense stroma, cancer-associated fibroblasts, and immune cells populations that crosstalk to the subpopulations of neoplastic cells that include cancer stem cells (CSCs). The heterogeneity in TME is also exhibited in the diversity and dynamics of acellular components, including the Extracellular matrix (ECM), cytokines, growth factors, and secreted ligands to signaling pathways. These contribute to drug resistance, metastasis, and relapse in PDAC. However, clinical trials targeting TME components have often reported unexpected results and still have not benefited patients. The failures in those trials and various efforts to understand the PDAC biology demonstrate the highly heterogeneous and multi-faceted TME compositions and the complexity of their interplay within TME. Hence, further functional and mechanistic insight is needed. In this review, we will present a current understanding of PDAC biology with a focus on the heterogeneity in TME and crosstalk among its components. We also discuss clinical challenges and the arising therapeutic opportunities in PDAC research.

Original publication

DOI

10.3390/cancers13195028

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cancers (basel)

Publication Date

08/10/2021

Volume

13

Keywords

cancer therapy, fibroblasts, immune cells, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, tumor microenvironment, tumor stroma