It is estimated that early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) could increase long-term patient survival by as much as 30% to 40% (Seufferlein, T. et al., Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2016, 13, 74-75). There is an unmet need for reagents that can reliably identify early cancerous or precancerous lesions through various imaging modalities or could be employed to deliver anticancer treatments specifically to tumor cells. However, to date, many PDAC tumor-targeting strategies lack selectivity and are unable to discriminate between tumor and nontumor cells, causing off-target effects or unclear diagnoses. Although a variety of approaches have been taken to identify tumor-targeting reagents that can effectively direct therapeutics or imaging agents to cancer cells (Liu, D. et al., J. Controlled Release 2015, 219, 632-643), translating these reagents into clinical practice has been limited, and it remains an area open to new methodologies and reagents (O'Connor, J.P. et al., Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. 2017, 14, 169-186). G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are key target proteins for drug discovery and comprise a large proportion of currently marketed therapeutics, hold significant promise for tumor imaging and targeted treatment, particularly for pancreatic cancer.
Matters, G. L. and Harms, John F., "Utilizing Peptide Ligand GPCRS to Image and Treat Pancreatic Cancer" (2018). Educator Scholarship. 29.