Pancreas adenocarcinoma: novel therapeutics
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the third highest cause of cancer-related deaths in the US, and is projected to be second only to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by the 2020s. Current therapies have a modest impact on survival and median overall survival (mOS) across all stages of disease remains under a year. Over the last decade, however, great strides have been made in the understanding of PDAC pathobiology including the role of the tumor microenvironment (TME), DNA damage repair and mechanism of immunosuppression. Exciting novel therapeutics are in clinical development targeting the TME to increase cytotoxic drug delivery, decrease immunosuppressive cell presence and attack cancer stem cells (CSCs). Immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies are actively being studied and novel combinations of targeted agents are being pursued. There is a sense of optimism in the oncology community that these scientific advances will translate into improved outcomes for patients with PDAC in the proximate future. In this review, we examine various novel therapeutics under clinical development with a focus on stromal disrupting agents, immunotherapeutics and DNA damage repair strategies.