“Although cancer death rates have dropped dramatically, with amazing changes in age-adjusted mortality rates in the most common cancers, patients with pancreatic cancer are not enjoying such benefits,” said Margaret Tempero, MD, Professor of Medicine, and Director, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Pancreas Center, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Tempero also serves as Editor-in-Chief of JNCCN and as Chair of the NCCN Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Panel.
Among the various reasons for poor outcomes in this aggressive disease are the lack of clear presenting symptoms, very early tumor invasion and metastases, and somewhat resistant nature to chemotherapy, she explained. Furthermore, patients with pancreatic cancer are “living in a sea of cytokines, which weaken them and make them more frail,” Dr. Tempero added. To improve future outcomes, she noted the importance of continuing to study ways to target the RAS mutation, as well as its microenvironment, which makes it difficult for agents to penetrate the stroma.
Dr. Tempero has disclosed that she has received consulting fees and honoraria from Champion Oncology, Inc., Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, EMD Serono, Inc., MCS Biotech Resources, LLC, NeoHealth Inc., Novocure, Opsona Therapeutics, Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and grant/research support from Celgene Corporation and Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc.; and she has served as a scientific advisor for EMD Serono, Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Pfizer Inc.
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