Published online Jan 14, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i2.776
Peer-review started: June 3, 2015
First decision: July 20, 2015
Revised: August 13, 2015
Accepted: September 28, 2015
Article in press: September 30, 2015
Published online: January 14, 2016
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Although recent therapeutic developments for patients with pancreatic cancer have provided survival benefits, the outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer remain unsatisfactory. Molecularly targeted cancer therapy has advanced in the past decade with the use of a number of pathways as candidates of therapeutic targets. This review summarizes the molecular features of this refractory disease while focusing on the recent clinical and experimental findings on pancreatic cancer. It also discusses the data supporting current standard clinical outcomes, and offers conclusions that may improve the management of pancreatic cancer in the future.
Core tip: Pancreatic cancer-related mortality is almost consistently caused by local recurrence and metastasis. The survival of patients after surgical resection remains poor, and the results of adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy are still unsatisfactory. Therefore, new treatments are urgently needed. Recent developments in our knowledge of the underlying biological features of pancreatic cancer may be useful in establishing molecularly targeted therapy as a new strategy, similar to those used to treat other types of malignancies.