Pancreatic Cancer: Prevalence, Past Experience, and Competition

Pancreatic cancer begins in the pancreatic tissue and unfortunately, it’s rarely diagnosed at its earliest stage when it’s the most curable. Symptoms often don’t manifest until later on when the cancerous cells have spread to other organs and tissues.


Pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. There is a trend for a higher prevalence in more developed countries (this is the third most common death from cancer in the USA).

According to GLOBOCAN 2018, there were 432,242 new deaths caused by this cancer and 458,918 new cases reported. At the same time, 355,317 new cases are estimated to occur until 2040.

The other characteristic of pancreatic cancer is that despite all research done in the space, only 9% of patients survive after 5 years of diagnosis.

To date, the causes of pancreatic carcinoma are still insufficiently known, although certain risk factors have been identified, such as tobacco smoking, diabetes mellitus, obesity, dietary factors, alcohol abuse, age, ethnicity, family history, and genetic factors, Helicobacter pylori infection, non-O blood group and chronic pancreatitis.

Early detection of the disease is challenging, though new technologies arise. This all makes pancreatic cancer an interesting area of research leading to a lot of focus on clinical trials with different purposes.

Countries with past experience in Pancreatic Cancer clinical research

The way we usually measure the research experience of a given country is by calculating the number of trials performed for a million people. The map below shows on a global level which countries had more clinical trials than others compared to their population:

Map by TrialHub

The regions with the darkest red are the ones with the most previous experience running clinical trials in pancreatic cancer. There are 988 completed trials or in expanded access. In the last 3 years alone there were 214 studies completed.

The countries with the most completed trials are the USA (599), Germany (75), and Italy (64). Of course, they have the most sites with experience in the space but what is really interesting is that the USA has almost 20 times more sites compared to Germany (the second country with the most historical research).

If we look at the number of trials completed divided by the number of people who live there, then the ranking of countries looks different. Here are the top 5:

Belgium has really big and experienced research centers though population-wise it’s not the top country in Europe and worldwide.

This makes Belgium in a lot of cases the top country with experience and numbers of studies done per million people. The total number of completed pancreatic clinical trials in Belgium to date is 39, where there is a mix between industry and university-sponsored studies, as well as studies in all Phases.

If you are planning a study in this indication you can get the Full Feasibility Report for more data on: Recruitment Rates and Trial Performance Statistics as well as most experienced Sites and Investigators.

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Countries with active or recruiting clinical trials

In the last 3 years, clinical trials in pancreatic cancer have doubled due to the fact there is a real untapped need of patients as well as progress in technology and science. At the moment there are 1,434 active, recruiting, or not yet recruiting clinical trials. Of them, the recruiting ones are 889.

The countries with the highest number of trials are the USA, Japan, China, and Germany. Though if we want to measure the competition level when it comes to patient recruitment, it’s best to measure trials versus population.

Based on trials per million people the top countries with the highest competition are as follows:

On this map you can also get a better of the global competition in running clinical trials in Pancreatic Cancer:

Map by TrialHub

The dark green regions are the ones with less competition. As you can see on the map, although the USA is one of the countries with the most trials in pancreatic cancer, there are certain areas where there isn’t much research at the moment.

This presents an opportunity to connect with local centers and partner on including their patients.

If you need more competition data on Pancreatic Cancer you can get the Full Feasibility Report.

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TrialHub is a feasibility intelligence platform that supports feasibility, startup, patient recruitment and clinical project managers with a 360-degree overview of the clinical research landscape in order to plan successful and on-time clinical trials. 

TrialHub does this by aggregating thousands of data sources in real-time and combining them with local experts’ insights. 

The data provided in this article is gathered in November 2020 and is based on 17 clinical trial registries ( etc.) and analytics about thousands of clinical trials. 

If you want to get an up-to-date and/or customized feasibility for Pancreatic Cancer or need an assessment about a different indication or TA, please contact us at

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