Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (a.k.a. pancreatic cancer) remains one of the most feared and clinically challenging diseases to treat despite continual improvements in therapies. The genetic landscape of pancreatic cancer shows near ubiquitous activating mutations of KRAS, and recurrent inactivating mutations of CDKN2A, SMAD4, and TP53. To date, attempts to develop agents to target KRAS to specifically kill cancer cells have been disappointing. In this regard, an understanding of cellular metabolic derangements in pancreatic cancer could lead to novel therapeutic approaches. Like other cancers, pancreatic cancer cells rely on fuel sources for homeostasis and proliferation; as such, interrupting the use of two major nutrients, glucose and glutamine, may provide new therapeutic avenues. In addition, KRAS-mutant pancreatic cancers have been documented to depend on autophagy, and the inhibition of autophagy in the preclinical setting has shown promise. Herein, the conceptual framework for blocking the pancreatic fuel supply is reviewed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research