Pancreatic Cancer

November, 2022 Second-line HR070803 Plus 5-FU/Leucovorin Improves OS in Gemcitabine-Refractory Pancreatic CancerSecond-line HR070803 Plus 5-FU/Leucovorin Improves OS in Gemcitabine-Refractory Pancreatic Cancer

November, 2022 GOBLET Trial’s Pancreatic Cohort Displays High Efficacy With Pelareorep/Atezolizumab

November, 2022 Guided Radiation Technique Will Be Studied in Phase 3 Pancreatic Cancer Trial

November, 2022 Clinical Trial Innovations Poised to Spur Progress in Next Decade

More efficient clinical trials in pancreatic cancer: develop better treatment options, faster

NVL-520 May Stop Tumor Growth, Garner CNS Response in ROS1+ NSCLC and Solid Tumors

November, 2022 Pancreas: Prevention And Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer

Fall, 2022 Aerobic Exercise: An Unexpected Weapon Against Pancreatic Cancer

2022 Reprogramming of pancreatic adenocarcinoma immunosurveillance by a microbial probiotic siderophore

October, 2022 Common oral bacterium promotes tumor progression-associated activity in pancreatic cancer cells

October, 2022 Virginia Tech researchers discover how bacteria make pancreatic cancer cells grow and move

October, 2022 Fusobacterium nucleatum induces proliferation and migration in pancreatic cancer cells through host autocrine and paracrine signaling

October, 2022 SBRT Plus Nivolumab/Ipilimumab Yields Meaningful Activity in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

October, 2022 Discovery of two drugs could lead to earlier pancreatic cancer treatment

Pancreatic Cancer Overview

The pancreas is a gland, about six inches long, located in the abdomen that is surrounded by the stomach, small intestine, liver, spleen and gallbladder.

The pancreas is both an exocrine gland and endocrine gland:

Exocrine cells of the pancreas produce enzymes that help with digestion. The endocrine cells of the pancreas produce hormones, which are substances that control or regulate many specific functions in the body. The two main pancreatic hormones are insulin and glucagon. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels and glucagon raises blood sugar levels. Together, these two main hormones work to maintain the proper level of sugar in the blood.

Exocrine Tumors: Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow uncontrollably and form a tumor. More than 95% of pancreatic cancers are classified as exocrine tumors and more than 90% of these tumors are adenocarcinomas, where the cancer begins in the cells lining the pancreatic duct.

Rare forms of pancreatic cancers include:

  • Acinar Cell Carcinoma, which overproduces enzymes to digest fats
  • Intraductal Papillary-Mucinous Neoplasm, which is a cystic tumor usually located in the main pancreatic duct or in side branches of the duct
  • Mucinous Cystadenocarcinoma, which is a cystic tumor usually located in the tail of the pancreas that is filled with a thick fluid called mucin

Endocrine Tumors: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) account for less that 5% of all pancreatic cancers. They arise from the hormone producing cells in the pancreas called islet cells. PNETs are functional, meaning they produce hormones, or nonfunctional, producing no hormones. Most PNETs are nonfunctional and cancerous.

Staging and Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Treatments for Pancreatic cancer include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy (for exocrine tumors)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Clinical Trials.

Stage IA: Tumor is limited to the pancreas and measures less that 2 cm

Stage IB: Tumor is limited to the pancreas and is larger that 2 cm

  • Treatment for Stage IA and IB is Surgical resection

Stage IIA: Tumor has extended beyond the pancreas but does not involve local arteries or lymph nodes

Stage 11B: Tumor has may have extended beyond the pancreas and local lymph nodes and without artery involvement

  • Treatment for Stage IIA and IIB is surgical resection

Stage III: Tumor involves major arteries (the celiac axis and/or superior mesenteric artery with or without lymph node involvement

Stage IV: Tumor has metastasized to another part of the body, including the liver, abdominal wall, lungs, and/or lymph nodes

The primary treatment for Stage III and Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer is chemotherapy:

  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar) is the drug used most often is often combined with other drugs like paclitaxel (Abraxane), erlotinib (Tarceva), or capecitabine (Xeloda)
  • Another treatment combination of four chemo drugs that is used to treat advanced pancreatic cancer is called FOLFIRINOX consisting of 5-FU, leucovorin, irinotecan (Camptosar), and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)

Targeted Therapies for Pancreatic Cancers:

  • Treatment for Stage III and Stage IV endocarcinomas includes the targeted therapy drug erlotinib (Tarceva®), in combination with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar®)
  • Treatment for Stage III and Stage IV advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors includes the targeted therapy drugs sunitinib (Sutent®) and everolimus (Afinitor®)

Surgical Procedures for Pancreatic cancer include:

  • Whipple procedure is most common in cancers of the head of the pancreas, and is a procedure where the pancreas head, and sometimes the entire organ, is removed along with a portion of the stomach, duodenum, and lymph nodes
  • Distal pancreatectomy, is a procedure where the pancreas tail and spleen are removed, along with the spleen. This procedure is usually used to treat islet cell or neuroendocrine tumors
  • Total pancreatectomy, a surgery where the entire pancreas and spleen are removed
Clinical Trials for Pancreatic Cancer

Clinical Trials:

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Trials
The NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the federal agency that provides funding for most U.S. cancer clinical trials. This site provides information on both open and closed cancer clinical trials that are funded by the government, as well as many sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, medical centers, and some international organizations.

Pancreatic Cancer Network: National free patient advocacy and research network

Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP). CISCRP offers an online clinical trials search engine at In addition, they provide a toll-free number where patients can receive help locating a clinical trial.

Centerwatch This site helps people connect with clinical trials by offering a list of institutional review board (IRB)-approved clinical trials. This database of publicly and privately supported clinical trials is maintained by the National Library of Medicine at the NIH.

Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups This organization provides resources and information in order for patients to search for clinical trials.

EmergingMed Navigator- This organization helps to identify clinical trial options that match a patient’s specific diagnosis, stage and treatment history. Clinical trial specialists can also provide telephone support to help connect eligible patients with IRB-approved study sites that are enrolling new participants.

WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates health matters within the United Nations. This database allows people to search clinical trial registration information from many countries’ registries.

Additional Pancreatic Educational Resources

Care Cares-Cancer education, counseling, and support groups

Pancreatic Cancer Educational Material from Celgene

Pancreatic Cancer Network-free patient resources

Pancreatic Cancer Foundation


Recent Pancreatic Cancer News

Modifying Oncolytic Adenoviruses to Target Pancreatic Cancer
March, 2018

Sequencing Strategies in Pancreatic Cancer
February, 2018

Pamrevlumab Granted Fast Track Designation by FDA for Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
March 2, 2018

Protein Identified as Potential Druggable Target for Pancreatic Cancer
March 28, 2017

A New Form of Irinotican Ups Survival Rate in Pancreatic Cancer
European Society for Medical Oncology ESMO
June 25, 2014

Ruxolitinub Combo Improves Outcomes in Metastic Pancreatic Cancer
June, 2014

A new study explores the interaction of Pancreatic stroma cells and chemotherapy treatments
Cell Journal
June, 2014

AntiCancer Inc. Announces New Fluorescence Technology Developed for Curative Pancreatic Cancer Surgery
June 25, 2014

GVAC Vaccine studied for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas
Immunology Research Journal
June 18, 2014

Yale Study: Aspirin and Pancreatic Cancer

Support Groups for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN)

The National Pancreatic Foundation

Cancer Connect

The Pancreatic Center

Daily Strength

Fighting Chance- free counseling service for cancer patients and caregivers