Disrupting the Balance between Tumor Epithelia and Stroma is a Possible Therapeutic Approach for Pancreatic Cancer
Zheng Wang, Jiahui Li, Xin Chen, Wanxing Duan, Qingyong Ma, Xuqi Li
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Medical College, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (mainland)
Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:2002-2006
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a type of highly lethal malignant tumor. PDAC is locally invasive and is surrounded by a dense desmoplasia or fibrosis, which can involve adjacent vital structures. Previously, the effect of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) of stroma in the progression of PDAC has received more attention, and most in vitro and in vivo studies revealed that PSCs appear to confer biological aggressiveness. However, clinical trials targeting desmoplasia or PSCs showed disappointing results. Recent studies found that stromal components, especially activated PSCs, are able to inhibit the occurrence and progression of PDAC. Inhibition of the stroma or desmoplasia through genetic regulations or drugs accelerates the formation and progression of PDAC. Thus, we hypothesized that in various times and spaces, there is a balance between the tumor epithelia and stroma; once the balance is upset, the tumor traits may undergo certain changes. Therefore, finding the key changing points of this relationship to corrupt or influence it, instead of blindly inhibiting the stroma motivation or simply maintaining stroma activation, will destroy the cooperation or promote the competition and antagonism among cells. This approach may render tumors more vulnerable and thus unable to resist anti-cancer therapies.
Keywords: Clinical Trials as Topic, Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal - therapy, Epithelial Cells - pathology, Pancreatic Neoplasms - therapy, Stromal Cells - pathology