The role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death in the US. Despite the advances in medical and surgical treatment, the 5-year survival rate for such cancer is only approximately 5% when considering all stages of disease. The lethal nature of pancreatic cancer stems from its high metastatic potential to the lymphatic system and distant organs. Lack of effective chemotherapies, which is believed to be due to drug-resistance, also contributes to the high mortality of pancreatic cancer. Recent evidence suggests that epithelial-mesenchymal transition of pancreatic cancer cells contributes to the development of drug resistance and an increase in invasiveness. Future strategies that specifically target against epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype could potentially reduce tumoral drug resistance and invasiveness and hence prolong the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer.