About Pancreatic Cancer and Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF)
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), or pancreatic cancer, is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 60,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. this year alone. 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.
In locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC), the patient’s tumor typically involves structures, particularly blood vessels that are closely associated with the pancreas such as the superior mesenteric artery and superior mesenteric vein. Involvement of the cancer around these blood vessels precludes surgical removal of the tumor. Patients with unresectable LAPC have a median survival of 6 to 10 months, only slightly better than patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, and only 20 percent of newly diagnosed patients are classified as having resectable disease. Patients who have their tumor surgically removed have a much better prognosis with median survival of approximately 23 months with some patients being cured.