The pancreatic cancer space has one of the highest levels of unmet need among oncological indications, as well as low levels of attainment. This poses a challenge for physicians and oncologists treating pancreatic cancer patients. The majority of these unmet needs are clinical, with only a few being environmental.

From a clinical perspective, there are few treatment options available for pancreatic cancer patients, with surgical resection being limited to localised cases and systemic therapy being limited to advanced cases. Chemotherapy continues to constitute the majority of the market across the first- and second-line settings. Knowledge of risk factors and diagnostic biomarkers for this disease is limited, leading to undetected progression and diagnoses at advanced stages when the tumour is usually unresectable. Early detection and initiation of treatment are reported to have better survival outcomes, so increased efforts focusing on tumour detection and screening are needed.

Recent approvals of targeted therapies, such as PD-1 inhibitors and NTRK inhibitors, have proven to be clinically effective among populations exhibiting corresponding genetic mutations. The identification of additional biomarkers and the expansion of eligible patient populations are expected to lead to the approvals of effective therapies in the first- and second-line setting, and to improve patient outcomes. Due to high disease progression rates and limited availability of treatment options, palliative care or repurposed drugs from earlier lines are adopted in the second-line setting and beyond. Potent drugs that yield positive results for patients who have failed on previous lines of therapy are highly anticipated among key opinion leaders (KOLs) interviewed by GlobalData.

Based on KOL interviews, secondary research, and pipeline analyses, GlobalData has identified key areas of high unmet need in the pancreatic cancer space, which are highlighted in the figure below. Overall, pancreatic cancer can be classified as a high need, high opportunity, chemotherapy-dominated market with significant room for pharmaceutical innovation.

Figure 1: Unmet Needs and Opportunities in Pancreatic Cancer.

Credit: GlobalData.