Research Perspectives:

Targeting desmoplasia in pancreatic cancer as an essential first step to effective therapy

Nancy D. Ebelt, Vic Zamloot and Edwin R. Manuel _

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:3486-3488. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27745

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Nancy D. Ebelt1, Vic Zamloot1 and Edwin R. Manuel1

1 Department of Immuno-Oncology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA 91010, USA

Correspondence to:

Edwin R. Manuel,email: [email protected]

Keywords: pancreatic cancer; desmoplasia; fibrosis; hyaluronan; collagen

Received: June 22, 2020     Accepted: August 26, 2020     Published: September 22, 2020


Pancreatic cancer is considered one of the most lethal cancers in the US. It contributes to an estimated 47,000 deaths annually and is predicted to surpass prostate, breast and colorectal cancers as the leading cause of cancer-related death. Although major advancements in cancer treatment have improved outcomes for many cancer types, survival rate for pancreatic cancer has not improved in nearly four decades despite tremendous effort. One attribute of pancreatic cancer that is considered a major barrier to effective treatment is the formation of fibrotic tissue around tumor cells known as desmoplasia. A number of promising approaches have been developed to deplete fibrotic components in pancreatic tumors to enhance drug delivery, some of which have been tested in clinical trials of advanced, unresectable pancreatic cancer. Here, we discuss previous efforts, shortcomings and new considerations for developing more effective agents to eliminate desmoplasia.

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