Role of Tumor-Stromal Interactions in Pancreatic Cancer Invasion and Metastases

  • Rachel L. O. Olson
  • Judith V. Forner
  • Pilar Navarro
  • Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico
  • Ahmed M. Elamir
Reference work entry


Pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment (TME), simply defined as the noncancerous desmoplastic reaction, is considered a key player in all aspects of tumor growth, and progression. The dismal prognosis of pancreatic cancer and disappointing clinical trials has drawn our attention to the TME, particularly to the tumor-stromal interactions. While a myriad of molecular, pathological, and clinical features contribute to the lethality of pancreatic cancer, local invasiveness and distant metastases is a hallmark and leading cause of mortality and morbidity in this ominous cancer. Cancer-associated stromal cells including stellate cells have been implicated in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process involved in invasion and metastases. In addition, the pre-metastatic niche, immune evasion, and enhancement of angiogenesis have been attributed to these cells. Interactions of the tumor stromal complex operate as a command and logistics center for pancreatic cancer cells, triggering and maintaining invasiveness and metastases. Understanding and modulating these interactions is a promising strategy to tame one of the most aggressive human cancers to date.


Pancreatic cancer Tumor microenvironment Cancer-associated fibroblast Pancreatic cancer stellate cells Tumor-cell interaction Metastasis 



We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the authors of the excellent research studies and comprehensive reviews that were cited herein. We apologize to any authors whose work we omitted due to space limitations. We are grateful to Mohamed Mohameden Ibrahim Elamir for his unwavering support, and motivation. This work was supported by the NIH/NCI CA136526, Mayo Clinic Pancreatic SPORE P50 CA102701, and Mayo Clinic Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology P30 DK84567 and Mayo Clinic Cancer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel L. O. Olson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Judith V. Forner
    • 1
    • 3
  • Pilar Navarro
    • 3
  • Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico
    • 1
  • Ahmed M. Elamir
    • 4
  1. 1.Schulze Center for Novel TherapeuticsMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Center for Learning InnovationUniversity of Minnesota RochesterRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Cancer Research ProgrammeHospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Clinical Oncology Department, Faculty of MedicineCairo UniversityCairoEgypt

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