Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), or pancreatic cancer, is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 53,670 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. in 2017 alone.
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease, and is typically not diagnosed until it has progressed to the point at which it is largely incurable. Most patients are diagnosed after the age of 45. Due to many factors, including limited response to currently available therapies, overall five-year survival is about 7%. PDAC tumors often exhibit a high degree of desmoplasia, characterized by extensive connective tissue stroma, and elevated levels of CTGF. Cancer-stroma interactions affect tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, resistance to therapy, and metastatic spread of tumor cells.