A study looking at blood and tissue samples to learn more about pancreatic cancer (Pancrea_tive)

Cancer type:

Pancreatic cancer





This study is examining the cells that make up pancreatic tumours Open a glossary item.

It is for people who:

  • have pancreatic cancer, a disease of the pancreas or are having tests for this
  • are being seen at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge

More about this trial

There are different types of cells in pancreatic tumours. There are also areas of non cancer tissue called stroma. The stroma and cancer cells interact with each other. This helps the tumours to grow and resist treatment.

Fibroblasts Open a glossary item are one type of cell in pancreatic tumours. They are the most common type of cell in pancreatic cancer. We know from research that these cells trigger cancer cells to divide and grow. 

There are different types of fibroblasts. Researchers think they all have a different effect on how they trigger cancer cells to grow. And on how treatment works for pancreatic cancer. There is currently no treatment available to target and block fibroblasts.  

In this study researchers plan to focus on fibroblasts and how they interact with other cells in pancreatic tumours. To do this they will take blood samples and tissue samples from pancreatic tissue (biopsies Open a glossary item) and surgeries (resections Open a glossary item).

The main aims of this study include:

  • learning more about the make up of pancreatic tumours
  • finding out more about a condition called cachexia in pancreatic cancer 

Doctors hope that by doing this research, they might be able to find new ways to treat pancreatic cancer. In the future, they plan to run clinical trials Open a glossary item to check how these new treatments work.

Please note, you won’t directly benefit from taking part in this study. But the results may help people with pancreatic cancer in the future. 

Who can enter

The following bullet points are a summary of the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

Who can take part

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You:

  • are having tests for a pancreatic problem, you have a disease of the pancreas or you have suspected or confirmed cancer of the pancreas
  • are at least 16 years old  

Who can’t take part

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You:

  • have any other cancer or you had another cancer in the last 5 years 
  • have already had treatment for pancreatic cancer
  • have any other medical condition that the study team think would affect you taking part 

Trial design

This study is taking place in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. The team need 50 people to take part over 5 years. 

The study team will ask your permission to look at your medical notes. They would like to know:

  • if you have pancreatic cancer and if it has spread 
  • what treatment you have had 
  • about any symptoms you may have
  • if you have any health conditions and about your family’s health history Open a glossary item
  • about any other conditions, cancer or surgery you have had 
  • if you have had any genetic tests
  • about your blood test results
  • your weight taken at each clinic visit. This is for up to 6 months after your surgery.

Blood and tissue samples 
The study team ask you to give some blood samples for research. Where possible you give these at the same time as your routine blood tests. 

You might need to have a biopsy of the pancreas done before any routine planned surgery. The study team might also ask to take samples from outside the pancreas if there are areas of tumour. They only do this if it is safe to do so.

For people having surgery, the team ask to take tissue samples during the procedure. The surgeon takes the samples from the tissue that they remove. They also take samples from any areas of cancer spread if it is safe to do so. 

The study team might also ask for permission to use any previous tissue samples you gave in the past. They can tell you more about this.

Hospital visits

There aren’t any extra hospital visits if you take part in this study.

Side effects

There are no side effects apart from some possible slight bleeding or bruising from the blood samples.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Giulia Biffi

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The University of Cambridge

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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