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STAT3 as an emerging molecular target in pancreatic cancer

Authors Sharma N, Shankar S, Srivastava R

Received 21 March 2014

Accepted for publication 15 May 2014

Published 25 August 2014 Volume 2014:4 Pages 115—122


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Narinder Kumar Sharma,1 Sharmila Shankar,2 Rakesh K Srivastava1

1Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, and Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA; 2Kansas City VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, USA

Abstract: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths. Although, surgical resection of pancreatic cancer may provide the best chance for cure and long-term survival, due to the late onset of symptoms only 15% to 20% of patients have resectable tumors. Most of the pancreatic tumors have mutations in the K-ras gene, followed by mutations in tumor suppressor genes such as p53 and SMAD4. In addition, there is growing evidence for the potential involvement of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in malignant transformation of pancreatic cancer. STAT3 plays critical roles in regulating many physiological functions in normal and malignant tissues, such as inflammation, survival, proliferation, differentiation, and angiogenesis. STAT3 is activated by a wide variety of cytokines, growth factors, and other stimuli. Unlike other members of the STAT family, ablation of STAT3 leads to embryonic lethality and conditional loss of STAT3 protein in adult tissues, leading to a variety of abnormalities, confirming that STAT3 participates in a wide variety of physiological processes. Constitutive activation of STAT3 is implicated in a wide range of human cancers; therefore, STAT3 has been identified as a novel target to treat and prevent cancers. Several STAT3 inhibitors display antitumor effectiveness, and data supporting the use of STAT3 inhibitors are emerging. Different approaches used for the inhibition of activated STAT3 include modulating upstream positive or negative regulators or directly targeting its different domains. These approaches have been used in the inhibition of STAT3 in different cancers, but in this review, we will focus specifically on the inhibition of STAT3 in pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: pancreatic cancer, Kras, oncogene, angiogenesis, apoptosis, STAT3

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