Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers and leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. Due to its nonspecific early symptoms, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose before extensive local invasion and distant metastasis. The 5-year survival rate of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is less than 5%. Their median survival time is less than 12 months. The molecular mechanisms of pancreatic tumor genesis are poorly understood. Mesothelin is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchored cell surface protein, which has been found overexpressed in human pancreatic cancer. The function of mesothelin in tumor progression remains unclear. This review aims to outline the roles of mesothelin in pancreatic cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis and invasion, as well as its potential role in mesothelintargeted cancer therapy. Therefore, mesothelin is malignant factor for pancreatic cancer and could be exploited as an antigenic target of therapeutic cancer vaccine.
Keywords: Function, mesothelin, pancreatic cancer.