The extracellular matrix and pancreatic cancer: A complex relationship

Maximilian Weniger, Kim C. Honselmann, Andrew S. Liss*

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has an extraordinarily dense fibrotic stroma that impedes tumor perfusion and delivery of anticancer drugs. Since the extracellular matrix (ECM) comprises the bulk of the stroma, it is primarily responsible for the increased interstitial tissue pressure and stiff mechanical properties of the stroma. Besides its mechanical influence, the ECM provides important biochemical and physical cues that promote survival, proliferation, and metastasis. By serving as a nutritional source, the ECM also enables PDAC cells to survive under the nutrient-poor conditions. While therapeutic strategies using stroma-depleting drugs have yielded disappointing results, an increasing body of research indicates the ECM may offer a variety of potential therapeutic targets. As preclinical studies of ECM-targeted drugs have shown promising effects, a number of clinical trials are currently investigating agents with the potential to advance the future treatment of PDAC. Thus, the present review seeks to give an overview of the complex relationship between the ECM and PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number316
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 06.09.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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