Pancreatic cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells, i.e., malignant cells in the tissues of the pancreas. The malignant cells lead to the formation of tumors in the pancreas which deters the normal functioning of the organ.
Pancreatic cancer is a key challenge in the U.S. with presence of the highest number of pancreatic cancer patients in the world. It is estimated that in the country, 53,670 new cases of pancreatic cancer are likely to be diagnosed in 2017. Patients with pancreatic cancer have the lowest survival rate of all cancers. Over the last 40 years, survival has improved for most of the cancers but not for pancreatic cancer. This cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., surpassing breast cancer, in 2016.
Factors such as high unmet therapy needs in the overall oncology market, rising concerns across the world, and new developments in this field of treatment are contributing to the growth of the global pancreatic cancer therapeutics market. However, technologies for the timely diagnosis of this cancer type are yet to develop fully. Hence, a majority of pancreatic cancer patients are being diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. In the advanced stage of this cancer type, the treatment options are less, resulting in high mortality rates. These factors are limiting the growth of the market for pancreatic cancer therapeutics. Estimates show that only a small percentage (about 12% to 15%) of patients is diagnosed early enough to be treated with surgical procedures, drugs, and chemotherapy.
Pancreatic cancer occurs in exocrine cells which produce digestive juices or endocrine cells that secrets hormones regulating blood sugars. The global pancreatic cancer therapeutics market is segmented based on whether the cancer affects endocrine or exocrine functions. Adenocarcinoma, which constitutes nearly 95% of all exocrine pancreatic cancers, is the most common pancreatic cancer type. Other prevalent cancers of the pancreas include pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome), glucagonoma, insulinoma, VIPoma (Verner-Morrison syndrome), and multiple endocrine neoplasia type-1 (MEN1). In terms of treatment, the pancreatic cancer therapeutics market is segmented into surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. The treatment of this cancer type often consists of a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Geographically, the market for pancreatic cancer therapeutics is distributed over North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Investment in research and development growing prevalence and increasing reach of novel techniques in the developing regions are the factors expected to drive the growth in these regions during the forecast period.
The pancreatic cancer therapeutics market is dominated by Gemzar (Gemcitabine) developed by Eli Lilly. Gemzar is indicated as first-line treatment of nonresectable (stage II or stage III) or metastatic (stage IV) adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Gemzar and Tarceva (Erlotinib) by Genentech/OSI Pharmaceuticals/Roche account for a majority share of the global pancreatic cancer therapeutics market as these drugs have been in the market for a considerable time.
Abraxane by Celgene is another therapeutic drug that was launched in the U.S. and Europe in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Abraxane was the first drug to be approved for the pancreatic cancer treatment in almost a decade, and it is aggressively competing with existing drugs. A few pipeline drugs are expected to be launched toward the end of the forecast period. Numerous untapped opportunities in clinical development exist in the pancreatic cancer therapeutics market.
Major players operating in the market include Amgen, Inc., Genentech, Inc., Abraxis BioScience, LLC (Celgene Corporation), Pfizer Inc, Eli Lilly and Company, Novartis AG, and Threshold Pharmaceutic.