Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 144, Issue 7, pp 1205–1217 | Cite as

Status and future directions in the management of pancreatic cancer: potential impact of nanotechnology

  • Catherine M. Sielaff
  • Shaker A. Mousa
Review – Cancer Research


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is typically diagnosed at a late stage, has limited treatments, and patients have poor survival rates. It currently ranks as the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths globally and has increasing rates of diagnosis. Improved PDAC treatment requires the development of innovative, effective, and economical therapeutic drugs. The late stage diagnosis limits options for surgical resection, and traditional PDAC chemotherapeutics correlate with increased organ and hematologic toxicity. In addition, PDAC tumor tissue is dense and highly resistant to many traditional chemotherapeutic applications, making the disease difficult to treat and impeding options for palliative care. New developments in nanotechnology may offer innovative options for targeted PDAC therapeutic drug delivery. Nanotechnology can be implemented using multimodality methods that offer increased opportunities for earlier diagnosis, precision enhanced imaging, targeted long-term tumor surveillance, and controlled drug delivery, as well as improved palliative care and patient comfort. Nanoscale delivery methods have demonstrated the capacity to infiltrate the dense, fibrous tumor tissue associated with PDAC, increasing delivery and effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents and reducing toxicity through the loading of multiple drug therapies on a single nano delivery vehicle. This review presents an overview of nanoscale drug delivery systems and multimodality carriers at the forefront of new PDAC treatments.


Chemotherapy Radiation Stem cell Fibrosis Targeted therapy Metastasis 



There is no funding to declare.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

S.A.M. holds stock in a small pharmaceutical company, NanoPharmaceuticals LLC, that is developing anticancer drugs. C.S. has no conflicts to declare.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Toxicology, School of PharmacySt. John’s UniversityQueensUSA
  2. 2.Pharmaceutical Research InstituteAlbany College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesRensselaerUSA

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