BACKGROUND & AIMS - Activating mutation of the KRAS gene is common in some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, but rare in other cancers. Chronic pancreatitis is a predisposing condition for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but how it synergizes with KRAS mutation is not known.
METHODS - We used a mouse model to express an activating mutation of Kras in conjunction with obstruction of the main pancreatic duct to recapitulate a common etiology of human chronic pancreatitis. Because the cell of origin of PDAC is not clear, Kras mutation was introduced into either duct cells or acinar cells.
RESULTS - Although Kras expression in both cell types was protective against damage-associated cell death, chronic pancreatitis induced p53, p21, and growth arrest only in acinar-derived cells. Mutant duct cells did not elevate p53 or p21 expression and exhibited increased proliferation driving the appearance of PDAC over time.
CONCLUSIONS - One mechanism by which tissues may be susceptible or resistant to KRAS-initiated tumorigenesis is whether they undergo a p53-mediated damage response. In summary, we have uncovered a mechanism by which inflammation and intrinsic cellular programming synergize for the development of PDAC.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.