Table of Contents
ISRN Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 249235, 9 pages
Review Article

The Role of Tobacco-Derived Carcinogens in Pancreas Cancer

1Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Unit, Department of Surgery, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK
2Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
3Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

Received 21 April 2011; Accepted 14 May 2011

Academic Editor: M. Talieri

Copyright © 2011 Rajiv Lochan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The extremely poor outcome from pancreas cancer is well known. However, its aetiology less well appreciated, and the molecular mechanisms underlying this are poorly understood. Tobacco usage is one of the strongest risk factors for this disease, and this is a completely avoidable hazard. In addition, there are well described hereditary diseases which predispose, and familial pancreas cancer. We have sought here to summarise the role of tobacco-derived carcinogens and the mode of their tumorigenic action on the pancreas. There is compelling evidence from animal and human studies (laboratory including cell line studies and epidemiologic) that tobacco derived carcinogens cause pancreas cancer. However, the manner in which they do so is not entirely apparent. There is also compelling evidence that synergism with genetic and other life-style factors—like diet obesity—results in a multifactorial causation of the disease. Ascertaining the role of tobacco carcinogens in the development of this cancer and their interaction with other risk factors will enable novel therapeutic and preventative strategies to improve outcome from this appalling malignancy.