The global pancreatic cancer drug market is projected to reach USD 1.2 billion by 2015. Among all the regions, the United States has recorded the maximum number of pancreatic cancer cases, which are about 30,000 patients each year. The survival rate is less than 5 years which acts as a major hurdle for the growth of this market.
The aggressive nature of pancreatic cancer and inadequate responses to the treatment acts as major obstacles in the treatment of such diseases. Moreover, pancreatic cancer is diagnosed when it is in its advanced stage, leading to increase in mortality rate of the patients affected by such diseases. Only 15% to 12% of patients are diagnosed early enough thus making it possible to remove the tumor surgically. The stages in pancreatic cancers include stage I, stage II, stage III and stage IV of which only stage I and stage II tumors can be removed surgically.
Eli Lilly’s Gemzar (Gemcitabine) dominates the pancreatic cancer drug as it is presently the most advanced drug therapy recommended for stage III, IV or advanced stage treatments. Eli Lilly's Gemzar (Gemcitabine) and Genentech/ OSI Pharmaceuticals/ Roche's Tarceva (Erlotinib) have captured the whole of the pancreatic cancer drug market as these are the only two approved therapies available for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Of the two, Gemzar leads the market with about 55% share in the pancreatic cancer drugs market.
The uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas leads to pancreatic cancer. This abnormal cells growth keeps on dividing and forms lumps or a mass of tissues called tumors. Tumors disturb the normal functioning of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is classified based on whether it affects exocrine or endocrine functions of the pancreas. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is adenocarcinomas, which account for 95% of exocrine pancreatic cancers. Other types of pancreatic cancers that are associated with endocrine functions include adenosquamous carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and giant cell carcinomas.