Trials and tribulations of pancreatic cancer immunotherapy

Daniel R. Principe*, Murray Korc, Suneel D. Kamath, Hidayatullah G. Munshi, Ajay Rana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment in the last decade, and strategies to re-activate cytotoxic immunity are now standard of care in several malignancies. Despite rapid advances in immunotherapy for most solid cancers, progress in immunotherapy against pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has been exceptionally difficult. This is true for several approaches, most notably immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and GM-CSF cell-based vaccines (GVAX). Though many immunotherapies have been explored in clinical trials, few have shown significant therapeutic efficacy. Further, many have shown high rates of serious adverse effects and dose-limiting toxicities, and to date, immunotherapy regimens have not been successfully implemented in PDAC. Here, we provide a comprehensive summary of the key clinical trials exploring immunotherapy in PDAC, followed by a brief discussion of emerging molecular mechanisms that may explain the relative failure of immunotherapy in pancreas cancer thus far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - Apr 28 2021


  • Immune checkpoint inhibition
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Tumor immunology
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Trials and tribulations of pancreatic cancer immunotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this