Cardiff University Oncology Society have been busy raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK via The Th
Pancreatic cancer’s notoriety can be partly attributed to its combination of often late stage at
diagnosis and subsequent refractory response to treatment. It therefore bears an extremely poor
prognosis. Pancreatic Cancer UK has contributed £4 million in an effort to tackle this devastating
disease. The driver mutation, KRAS , dominates the tumorigenesis and unhappily tumours
characterised by KRAS mutations have a notorious ability to evade traditional cancer treatment
strategies. Developing targeted therapeutics and better understanding this disease therefore
remains the compelling focus of research efforts. Some of the latest developments include:
● A novel means of genetic engineering that involves using inhibitory exosomes to target the
KRAS mutants using siRNA’s that attenuate PDAC tumour growth specifically has shown
promise in vivo. Preliminary results suggest this technique looks to be more effective than
use of liposomes as a means of delivering targeted therapeutics.
● Use of adjuvant gemcitabine plus capecitabine in patients with surgically resected PDAC has
demonstrated improvements versus gemcitabine monotherapy in 5-year overall survival in a
large randomized phase II trial, changing the standard of care for this patient group.
● Advances in genetic sequencing technology has allowed insight into other driver mutations
implicated in the tumorigenesis of PDAC, namely those involved in homologous DNA repair
and epigenetic regulation. Success in treating such mutations in breast and ovarian cancers
has been achieved by using PARP inhibitors and platinum agents leading to the exploration
of a repurposing of these agents in PDAC.
While these developments into pancreatic cancer research looks promising many remain in their
preliminary stages, highlighting the importance of supporting efforts to overcome the many and
complex challenges such a merciless cancer poses. Newer treatments that target the driver mutation
KRAS and its