Potentials of Interferon Therapy in the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Stephanie Booij, Leo Hofland, Casper van Eijck

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic cancer is a highly aggressive malignancy with limited treatment options. To improve survival for patients with pancreatic cancer, research has focused on other treatment modalities like adding biological modulators such as type-I interferons (IFNs). Type I IFNs (ie, IFN-alpha/IFN-beta) have antiproliferative, antiviral, and immunoregulatory activities. Furthermore, they are able to induce apoptosis, exert cell cycle blocking, and sensitize tumor cells for chemo- and radiotherapy. A few years ago in vitro, in vivo, and several clinical trials have been described regarding adjuvant IFN-alpha therapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Some studies reported a remarkable increase in the 2- and 5-year survival. Unfortunately, the only randomized clinical trial did not show a significant increase in overall survival, although the increased median survival implicated that some patients in the experimental group benefited from the adjuvant IFN-alpha therapy. Furthermore, encouraging in vitro and in vivo data points to a possible role for adjuvant IFN therapy. However, up till now, the use of IFNs in the treatment of pancreatic cancer remains controversial. This review, therefore, aims to describe, based on the available data, whether there is a distinct role for IFN therapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)327-339
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Research programs

  • EMC MM-01-39-01
  • EMC MM-04-47-07

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