Chemotherapy is a very important therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment. The failure of conventional and molecularly targeted chemotherapeutic regimes for the treatment of pancreatic cancer highlights a desperate need for novel therapeutic interventions. Chemotherapy often fails to eliminate all tumor cells because of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance, which is the most common cause of tumor recurrence. Overexpression of RAD51 protein, a key player in DNA repair/recombination has been observed in many cancer cells and its hyperexpression is implicated in drug resistance. Recent studies suggest that RAD51 overexpression contributes to the development, progression and drug resistance of pancreatic cancer cells. Here we provide a brief overview of the available pieces of evidence in support of the role of RAD51 in pancreatic tumorigenesis and drug resistance, and hypothesize that RAD51 could serve as a potential biomarker for diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. We discuss the possible involvement of RAD51 in the drug resistance associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition and with cancer stem cells. Finally, we speculate that targeting RAD51 in pancreatic cancer cells may be a novel approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.