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A Short Note on Pancreatic Cancers and Its Risk Factors

Divya Jyothi Uppari*


Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Telangana 500085, India

*Corresponding Author:
Divya Jyothi Uppari
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University
Hyderabad, Telangana 500085, India.

Received date: 03/10/2016 Revised date: 25/11/2016 Accepted date: 09/12/2016

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This paper aims to discuss about the pancreatic cancers which are caused due to various reasons, and how these pancreatic diseases affect the human health. Many researchers have found various factors which are responsible for the pancreatic cancers, with this information some of the cancers related to pancreas were discussed.


Pancreatic cancer, Cancer cells, Tumor, Chemotherapy, DNA repair.


Cancer starts with uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells [1] which are different from normal cell growth, these cancers cells continue growing and enter other tissues and makes damage to DNA, where DNA fails to repair the damage caused by the cancer cells [2-11]. These cancer cells are developed because of external and internal impacts like environmental and smoking, drinking [12-20].

Pancreas are also affected with such problem where the human being is exposed to polluted environment and consumption of toxic food item which are prepared using toxic chemicals.

Pancreas is an organ which is situated behind the stomach; it is divided in to head, body and tail [21]. The major function of the pancreas in a body is to produce digestion juices and Insulin which controls increase of sugar. There are few diseases of the pancreas such as Pancreatitis, Benign Tumors and Malignant Tumors [22-26].

Cancer cells easily spread and forms tumor in the body whereas the normal cell unlike as cancer cells. Cancer which spreads is called as Metastasis, cancer which spread to nearby body part is called local Metastasis, and cancer that spread to distant body part is called distant Metastasis. Cancer can be spread to distant body parts through blood. There are two blood vessels behind the pancreas that are mesenteric artery which supply the intestines with blood and mesenteric vein returns blood to the heart. There are chances of spreading cancer through lymph also; lymph is a fluid which has white blood cells that fight against germs [27-29].

Pancreatic Cancers

Pancreas contains exocrine cells and Endocrine cells, exocrine cells produces digestive enzymes that are secreted to tubes called ducts, whereas Endocrine cells have cluster of Islet of Langerhans which produces Insulin. Some of the diseases related to pancreas are Pancreatitis, Benign Tumors and Malignant Tumors [30-33].

Types of Pancreatic Cancers

Exocrine tumors

The major pancreatic cancers are Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas. More than 95% of Pancreatic Cancers are Exocrine Tumors (Figure 1) [34-36] and the following points describe the most common pancreatic exocrine tumors.

 Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is common type which occurs for 90% of Pancreatic Cancers [37].

 Acinar cell carcinoma: It is a rare form of Pancreatic Cancer, produces lipases the enzymes secreted will digest fats [38-40].

 Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN): IPMN may be a benign and has the ability to change as malignant tumor [41-44].

 Mucinous cystadeno carcinoma: Mucinous Cystadeno Carcinoma is rare which malignant, cystic tumor is and it is similar to IPMN this occurs at one area (at tail of pancreas), cyst is filled with mucin and these tumors are mostly seen in women [45-48].


Figure 1. Pancreatic tumor from cancer of the descending colon.

Endocrine tumors

There are other types of pancreatic cancers, including the less aggressive endocrine tumors or Islet cell tumors. Endocrine accounts for less than 5% of all pancreatic tumors, there are various types of endocrine tumors in pancreas such as [49-56]:

 Gastrinoma: It produces gastrin and it is part of genetic syndrome [57,58].

 Glucagonoma: It produces glucagon and this tumor found in tail of the Pancreas and it may develop to malignant [59].

 Insulinoma: Insulinoma produces Insulin most of these are benign tumors only [60].

 Somatostatinoma: Somatostatinoma produces Somatostatin which is rare and large, this occurs at anywhere in Pancreas and Dedenum [61].

 ViPoma: It produces Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide and it has the ability to become Malignant.

Non-functional Islet Cell Tumor: This is malignant tumor and it is very hard find out [62-64].

Causes for Pancreatic Cancer

Causes for Pancreatic cancer are Chronic Pancreatitis. The inflammation of the Pancreas; Diabetes is associated with pancreas; Smoking; Family History and other cancers; and in most cases occur over the age of 60 years [65].

Pancreatic cancer is fundamentally a disease caused by damage to the Deoxyribonucleic acid. This damage is often referred to as mutations. These mutations can be acquired as our age and it can be inherited from parents.

The second way of cancer that can damage our deoxyribonucleic acid is with human behavior. For example, the cancer causing chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage our deoxyribonucleic acid. If the drugs damage a key cancer-associated gene in a cell in the pancreas, then that cell may grow into a cancer. Simply put, don’t smoke! [66].

The third way our deoxyribonucleic acid gets damaged is by chance. Every cell in human body contains two copies of each of the 23 chromosomes and these 46 chromosomes contain billions of base-pairs (letters) of Deoxyribonucleic acid [67-69].

Pancreatic cancers are unable to detect with Physical examination, this cancers don’t have any early warning signs, it doesn’t have any effective screening tests and the pancreatic cancers are rarely detected in early phase [70].

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer [71-74]

• Cigarette smoking

• Age

• Race

• Gender

• Religious background

• Chronic pancreatitis

• Diabetes mellitus

• Obesity

• Diet

• Genetics

Symptoms of Tumors

There are few symptoms for benign tumor [75].

• Sweating

• Weight Loss

• Abnormal blood sugar

• Nausea

• Food Digestion problems

• Back pain

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Treatment of pancreatic cancer [76] is based on types of pancreatic cells, Location of cancer and stage of cancer. There are some treatment options like:

 Surgery: There are three surgical options such as Whipple procedure (Pancreatoduodenectomy), total Pancreatectomy and Distal Pancreatectomy [77-86].

 Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is performed by using drugs and chemicals. Systemic Chemotherapy is the process of injecting drugs to reach throughout body and Regional Chemotherapy is also injection of drugs in to arteries surrounding the tumor [87-93].

 Radiation: Radiation therapy is a process of using high energy rays to kill the cancer cells in treated area, External beam Radiation therapy is followed for outside surface of pancreas and Brachytherapy is performed inside of pancreas using radioactive pellets [94-100].

 Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is focused on specific abnormal cancer cells.

 Combination of treatment: Above all treatment are performed to kill the cancer cells.


This paper is briefly presented with causes for pancreatic cancer, treatment and various types of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic cancers are common in human being but they are hard to detect at early stage and curable if identified at early stages [101,102].