Published online Nov 26, 2018. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v10.i11.172
Peer-review started: July 19, 2018
First decision: August 24, 2018
Revised: September 10, 2018
Accepted: October 17, 2018
Article in press: October 17, 2018
Published online: November 26, 2018
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the most aggressive solid tumours of the pancreas, characterised by a five-year survival rate less than 8%. Recent reports that pancreatic cancer stem cells (PCSCs) contribute to the tumorigenesis, progression, and chemoresistance of pancreatic cancer have prompted the investigation of new therapeutic approaches able to directly target PCSCs. In the present paper the non-cancer related drugs that have been proposed to target CSCs that could potentially combat pancreatic cancer are reviewed and evaluated. The role of some pathways and deregulated proteins in PCSCs as new therapeutic targets are also discussed with a focus on selected specific inhibitors. Finally, advances in the development of nanoparticles for targeting PCSCs and site-specific drug delivery are highlighted, and their limitations considered.
Core tip: Pancreatic cancer is characterised by remarkable resistance to treatment conferred by pancreatic cancer stem cells (PCSCs). Unfortunately, most conventional treatments are unable to eradicate tumours. Recent research has focused on characterising PCSCs to accelerate the development of novel therapeutic strategies. In the present paper, we shed light on promising new strategies such as using non-cancer drugs as anti-cancer therapeutics, targeting of deregulated pathways and proteins of PCSCs, and using nanoparticles for improved drug delivery.