Notch Signaling in Pancreatic Morphogenesis and Pancreatic Cancer Pathogenesis
Notch signaling is becoming the focus of investigation in a large number of laboratories around the world due to its pleiotropic effect in regulating normal development and alterations in cancer. During the last decade, the scientific community studying this pathway has made significant contributions to our understanding of the cellular role of Notch signaling in regulating proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, migration, branching morphogenesis, and angiogenesis. Similar to observations with other signaling cascades, such as TGBβ, besides its role in morphogenesis, Notch signaling becomes dysregulated in adult tissue and contributes to the development and maintenance of the cancer phenotype. Elegant studies in this field of research have lead to not only the better understanding of the molecules within the pathway, but as a consequence, rational design of drugs that can inhibit Notch signaling with promising results. The study of Notch signaling in the pancreas has dawned on solid ground and thus, we predict that in the next few years, a better understanding of the pathway at the mechanistic level, along with a strict testing of pharmacological antagonists, will advance the field of pancreatic cancer research in a significant manner.
KeywordsPancreatic Cancer Notch Signaling Notch Pathway Notch Receptor Notch Target Gene
Work in the author’s laboratory (R.U.) is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health DK 52913 and Mayo Clinic Pancreatic SPORE (P50 CA102701).
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