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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 1616781, 9 pages
Review Article

Reactive Oxygen Species and Targeted Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
2Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
3Department of General Surgery, Second Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710004, China

Received 7 September 2015; Revised 28 November 2015; Accepted 7 December 2015

Academic Editor: Ahmed E. Abdel Moneim

Copyright © 2016 Lun Zhang 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.


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generally increased in pancreatic cancer cells compared with normal cells. ROS plays a vital role in various cellular biological activities including proliferation, growth, apoptosis, and invasion. Besides, ROS participates in tumor microenvironment orchestration. The role of ROS is a doubled-edged sword in pancreatic cancer. The dual roles of ROS depend on the concentration. ROS facilitates carcinogenesis and cancer progression with mild-to-moderate elevated levels, while excessive ROS damages cancer cells dramatically and leads to cell death. Based on the recent knowledge, either promoting ROS generation to increase the concentration of ROS with extremely high levels or enhancing ROS scavenging ability to decrease ROS levels may benefit the treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, when faced with oxidative stress, the antioxidant programs of cancer cells have been activated to help cancer cells to survive in the adverse condition. Furthermore, ROS signaling and antioxidant programs play the vital roles in the progression of pancreatic cancer and in the response to cancer treatment. Eventually, it may be the novel target for various strategies and drugs to modulate ROS levels in pancreatic cancer therapy.