Dr. Berlin on Unmet Needs in Pancreatic Cancer

Jordan D. Berlin, MD, discusses unmet needs in pancreatic cancer.

Jordan D. Berlin, MD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, professor of medicine, VICC associate director for clinical research strategy, director of the Phase I Program in Gastrointestinal Malignancies, Clinical Trials, in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discusses unmet needs in pancreatic cancer.

Historically, other than chemotherapy, the pancreatic cancer armamentarium has had limited treatment options available, says Berlin. Targeted therapy options, such as TRK inhibitors for patients with NTRK fusions are available. Additionally, immunotherapy may be an option for patients with microsatellite instability–high disease. Patients with germline BRCA mutations could be eligible to receive PARP inhibitors, Berlin explains. ​However, taken collectively, only around 5% of patients with pancreatic cancer are eligible for these targeted options, which spotlights the need for additional options. 

Future research efforts may focus on the utility of immunotherapy for patients in this setting. Furthermore, an emphasis will likely be placed on metabolism and evaluating additional agents that may inhibit DNA damage repair. Additionally, developing addition targeted therapies that inhibit more common mutations, such as CDKN2A, P53RAS, are relevant ongoing efforts, Berlin concludes.