Track topics on Twitter Track topics that are important to you
The pancreas secretes a number of important hormones into the digestive tract and the blood stream. Cancers are most commonly exocrine than endocrine (neuroendocrine) tumors. Functional tumors secrete hormones; Insulinoma, Gastrinoma, Somatostatinoma, VIPoma and Glucagonoma. In these cases the symptoms are determined by the action of the hormones.
Symptoms can include weight loss, abdominal pain and jaundice. There are also a number of non-specific symptoms (diabetes, itching and sickness).
Pancreatic cancer research is active. A possible genetic link may exist; BRCA2 and p16 mutations are known to increase risk of pancreatic cancer, K-ras is found in 80% of cases (even non-familial ones). Other risk factors siuch as hereditary pancreatitis need to be found, to increase screening options for patients.
Diagnosis may in the future be done by biopsy; Mcm5 (minichromosome maintenance protein) protein test. Chemotherapy is being developed in tablet form, reducing the interruption to a patients life, and more drugs are being developed. Cyberknife is a new type of radiotherapy machine used for giving stereotactic radiotherapy to cancers that doctors cannot remove with surgery, although its effectiveness it not yet known.
Internal Radiotherapy is looking at gemcitabine chemotherapy in combination with 32P BioSilicon injections - results are due soon. Immunotherapy is another active area of research, with a number of vaccines in clinical trials.
Source; Adapted from Cancer Research UK
Add the Pancreatic News Channel to your RSS reader;
Follow the Pancreatic Cancer Twitter feed;