Does Axl have potential as a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer?

Wenting Du, Rolf A Brekken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death. Metastasis, therapy resistance, and immunosuppression are dominant characteristics of pancreatic tumors. Strategies that enhance the efficacy of standard of care and/or immune therapy are likely the most efficient route to improve overall survival in this disease. Areas covered: Axl, a member of the TAM (Tyro3, Axl, MerTK) family of receptor tyrosine kinases, is involved in cell plasticity, chemoresistance, immune suppression, and metastasis in various cancers, including pancreatic cancer. This review provides an overview of Axl and its function in normal conditions, summarizes the regulation and function of Axl in cancer, and highlights the contribution of Axl to pancreatic cancer as well as its potential as a therapeutic target. Expert opinion: Axl is an attractive therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer because it contributes to many of the roadblocks that hamper therapeutic efficacy. Clinical evidence supporting Axl inhibition in pancreatic cancer is currently limited; however, multiple clinical trials have been initiated or are in the planning phase to test the effect of inhibiting Axl in conjunction with standard therapy in pancreatic cancer patients. We anticipate that these studies will provide robust validation of Axl as a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-966
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2018


  • Axl
  • epithelial plasticity
  • immunosuppression
  • metastasis
  • pancreatic cancer
  • therapy resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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