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Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
  1. Megan B. Wachsmann, MD, MS*,
  2. Laurentiu M. Pop, MD,
  3. Ellen S. Vitetta, PhD†‡
  1. From the *Masters Program in Clinical Sciences, †Cancer Immunobiology Center, and ‡Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
  1. Received October 4, 2011, and in revised form December 23, 2011.
  2. Accepted for publication December 23, 2011.
  3. Reprints: Ellen S. Vitetta, PhD, Cancer Immunobiology Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Blvd, NB9.210, Dallas, TX 75390-8576. E-mail: ellen.vitetta{at}
  4. Support for this article was received from the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards grant UL1 RR024982 and The Cancer Immunobiology Center.

A Review of Immunologic Aspects


With the continued failures of both early diagnosis and treatment options for pancreatic cancer, it is now time to comprehensively evaluate the role of the immune system on the development and progression of pancreatic cancer. It is important to develop strategies that harness the molecules and cells of the immune system to treat this disease. This review will focus primarily on the role of immune cells in the development and progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and to evaluate what is known about the interaction of immune cells with the tumor microenvironment and their role in tumor growth and metastasis. We will conclude with a brief discussion of therapy for pancreatic cancer and the potential role for immunotherapy. We hypothesize that the role of the immune system in tumor development and progression is tissue specific. Our hope is that better understanding of this process will lead to better treatments for this devastating disease.

Key Words
  • pancreatic cancer
  • immune response
  • immunotherapy
  • immune

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