Published online Apr 15, 2021. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v13.i4.231
Peer-review started: January 12, 2021
First decision: February 11, 2021
Revised: February 21, 2021
Accepted: March 12, 2021
Article in press: March 12, 2021
Published online: April 15, 2021
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represents a leading cause of cancer death and is often diagnosticated too late to allow adequate treatments. Lots of biomarkers have been discovered in lasts years but, to date, there is a lack of low-cost and non-invasive tools for PDAC early detection. Nonetheless, drugs commonly used in PDAC treatment do not allow achieving long-term satisfying results. Nanotechnology is gaining importance in both PDAC early detection and treatment. The main implications of nanotechnology in cancer diagnosis lay in the ability that nanoparticles have on concentrate the alteration in human proteome caused by cancer. Nanoparticle-enabled blood tests have been demonstrated to reach high rate of sensitivity (up to 85%) and specificity (up to 100%). In the field of cancer therapy nanoparticles can be used as nanocarriers able to reach specific tumour’s cells and selectively release the drug they contain into them. A literature review was carried out with the aim to assess the state of the art and highlight the future perspectives of nanotechnology in PDAC early detection and therapy.
Core Tip: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is very lethal. Surgery is the only effective treatment. Unfortunately, only 20% of PDACs can be radically resected because of the lack of tools for early diagnosis and since chemotherapy agents fail to reach satisfying prognosis. Nanoparticles can amplify the cancer-induced proteome alteration allowing early cancer detection and can also be used in cancer treatment as carriers improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy. This review focuses the actual and futures implications of nanotechnology in PDAC diagnosis and treatment.