Apoptosis Signaling Pathways in Pancreatic Cancer Pathogenesis

  • David J. McConkey
Reference work entry


Conventional and investigational cancer therapies have had little to no effect on the course of pancreatic cancer disease progression. Induction of apoptosis plays a major role in the anti-tumoral effects of conventional chemo and radiotherapy, leading to the conclusion that apoptotic pathways must be more dysfunctional in pancreatic cancer than they are in other solid malignancies. However, in vitro and preclinical in vivo studies indicate that human pancreatic cancer cell lines display remarkable heterogeneity in their sensitivities to conventional and investigational therapeutic agents, and some of the “rules” governing sensitivity and resistance are being identified. More importantly, pancreatic cancer is characterized by the presence of a large inflammatory stromal component, and emerging evidence indicates that tumor-stromal interactions further reinforce drug resistance in vivo. Here we will review what is known about the signaling pathways that mediate apoptosis resistance in pancreatic cancer cells and promising therapeutic strategies to reverse them. We will also discuss growing evidence for the idea that the unique tumor-stromal interactions that occur in pancreatic cancer contribute to the daunting therapeutic resistance observed in patients.


Pancreatic Cancer Pancreatic Cancer Cell HDAC Inhibitor Pancreatic Cancer Patient Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. McConkey
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Cancer Biology and UrologyU.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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