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BACKGROUND & AIMS - Development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) involves acinar to ductal metaplasia and genesis of tuft cells. It has been a challenge to study these rare cells because of the lack of animal models. We investigated the role of tuft cells in pancreatic tumorigenesis.
METHODS - We performed studies with LSL-Kras;Ptf1a mice (KC; develop pancreatic tumors), KC mice crossed with mice with pancreatic disruption of Pou2f3 (KPouC mice; do not develop tuft cells), or mice with pancreatic disruption of the hematopoietic prostaglandin D synthase gene (Hpgds, KHC mice) and wild-type mice. Mice were allowed to age or were given caerulein to induce pancreatitis; pancreata were collected and analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, RNA sequencing, ultrastructural microscopy, and metabolic profiling. We performed laser-capture dissection and RNA-sequencing analysis of pancreatic tissues from 26 patients with pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), 19 patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs), and 197 patients with PDA.
RESULTS - Pancreata from KC mice had increased formation of tuft cells and higher levels of prostaglandin D than wild-type mice. Pancreas-specific deletion of POU2F3 in KC mice (KPouC mice) resulted in a loss of tuft cells and accelerated tumorigenesis. KPouC mice had increased fibrosis and activation of immune cells after administration of caerulein. Pancreata from KPouC and KHC mice had significantly lower levels of prostaglandin D, compared with KC mice, and significantly increased numbers of PanINs and PDAs. KPouC and KHC mice had increased pancreatic injury after administration of caerulein, significantly less normal tissue, more extracellular matrix deposition, and higher PanIN grade than KC mice. Human PanIN and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm had gene expression signatures associated with tuft cells and increased expression of Hpgds messenger RNA compared with PDA.
CONCLUSIONS - In mice with KRAS-induced pancreatic tumorigenesis, loss of tuft cells accelerates tumorigenesis and increases the severity of caerulein-induced pancreatic injury, via decreased production of prostaglandin D. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that tuft cells are a metaplasia-induced tumor attenuating cell type.
Copyright © 2020 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ferroptosis is a form of cell death that results from the catastrophic accumulation of lipid reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oncogenic signaling elevates lipid ROS production in many tumor types and is counteracted by metabolites that are derived from the amino acid cysteine. In this work, we show that the import of oxidized cysteine (cystine) via system x is a critical dependency of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is a leading cause of cancer mortality. PDAC cells used cysteine to synthesize glutathione and coenzyme A, which, together, down-regulated ferroptosis. Studying genetically engineered mice, we found that the deletion of a system x subunit, , induced tumor-selective ferroptosis and inhibited PDAC growth. This was replicated through the administration of cyst(e)inase, a drug that depletes cysteine and cystine, demonstrating a translatable means to induce ferroptosis in PDAC.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Lack of durable response to cytotoxic chemotherapy is a major contributor to the dismal outcomes seen in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Extensive tumor desmoplasia and poor vascular supply are two predominant characteristics which hinder the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs into PDAC tumors and mediate resistance to therapy. Previously, we have shown that STAT3 is a key biomarker of therapeutic resistance to gemcitabine treatment in PDAC, which can be overcome by combined inhibition of the Src and EGFR pathways. Although it is well-established that concurrent EGFR and Src inhibition exert these antineoplastic properties through direct inhibition of mitogenic pathways in tumor cells, the influence of this combined therapy on stromal constituents in PDAC tumors remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrate in both orthotopic tumor xenograft and (PKT) mouse models that concurrent EGFR and Src inhibition abrogates STAT3 activation, increases microvessel density, and prevents tissue fibrosis . Furthermore, the stromal changes induced by parallel EGFR and Src pathway inhibition resulted in improved overall survival in PKT mice when combined with gemcitabine. As a phase I clinical trial utilizing concurrent EGFR and Src inhibition with gemcitabine has recently concluded, these data provide timely translational insight into the novel mechanism of action of this regimen and expand our understanding into the phenomenon of stromal-mediated therapeutic resistance. IMPLICATIONS: These findings demonstrate that Src/EGFR inhibition targets STAT3, remodels the tumor stroma, and results in enhanced delivery of gemcitabine to improve overall survival in a mouse model of PDAC.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.
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.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis largely owing to inefficient diagnosis and tenacious drug resistance. Activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) and consequent development of dense stroma are prominent features accounting for this aggressive biology. The reciprocal interplay between PSCs and pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) not only enhances tumour progression and metastasis but also sustains their own activation, facilitating a vicious cycle to exacerbate tumorigenesis and drug resistance. Furthermore, PSC activation occurs very early during PDAC tumorigenesis, and activated PSCs comprise a substantial fraction of the tumour mass, providing a rich source of readily detectable factors. Therefore, we hypothesized that the communication between PSCs and PCCs could be an exploitable target to develop effective strategies for PDAC therapy and diagnosis. Here, starting with a systematic proteomic investigation of secreted disease mediators and underlying molecular mechanisms, we reveal that leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a key paracrine factor from activated PSCs acting on cancer cells. Both pharmacologic LIF blockade and genetic Lifr deletion markedly slow tumour progression and augment the efficacy of chemotherapy to prolong survival of PDAC mouse models, mainly by modulating cancer cell differentiation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition status. Moreover, in both mouse models and human PDAC, aberrant production of LIF in the pancreas is restricted to pathological conditions and correlates with PDAC pathogenesis, and changes in the levels of circulating LIF correlate well with tumour response to therapy. Collectively, these findings reveal a function of LIF in PDAC tumorigenesis, and suggest its translational potential as an attractive therapeutic target and circulating marker. Our studies underscore how a better understanding of cell-cell communication within the tumour microenvironment can suggest novel strategies for cancer therapy.
Chromatin remodeler Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1) is silenced in approximately 10% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs). We previously showed that BRG1 inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and that IPMN-derived PDA originated from ductal cells. However, the role of BRG1 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-derived (PanIN-derived) PDA that originated from acinar cells remains elusive. Here, we found that exclusive elimination of Brg1 in acinar cells of Ptf1a-CreER; KrasG12D; Brg1fl/fl mice impaired the formation of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN independently of p53 mutation, while PDA formation was inhibited in the presence of p53 mutation. BRG1 bound to regions of the Sox9 promoter to regulate its expression and was critical for recruitment of upstream regulators, including PDX1, to the Sox9 promoter and enhancer in acinar cells. SOX9 expression was downregulated in BRG1-depleted ADMs/PanINs. Notably, Sox9 overexpression canceled this PanIN-attenuated phenotype in KBC mice. Furthermore, Brg1 deletion in established PanIN by using a dual recombinase system resulted in regression of the lesions in mice. Finally, BRG1 expression correlated with SOX9 expression in human PDAs. In summary, BRG1 is critical for PanIN initiation and progression through positive regulation of SOX9. Thus, the BRG1/SOX9 axis is a potential target for PanIN-derived PDA.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - The ARID1A gene encodes a protein that is part of the large adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent chromatin remodeling complex SWI/SNF and is frequently mutated in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). We investigated the functions of ARID1A during formation of PDACs in mice.
METHODS - We performed studies with Ptf1a-Cre;Kras mice, which express activated Kras in the pancreas and develop pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs), as well as those with disruption of Aird1a (Ptf1a-Cre;Kras;Arid1a mice) or disruption of Brg1 (encodes a catalytic ATPase of the SWI/SNF complex) (Ptf1a-Cre;Kras; Brg1mice). Pancreatic ductal cells (PDCs) were isolated from Arid1a mice and from Arid1a;SOX9OE mice, which overexpress human SOX9 upon infection with an adenovirus-expressing Cre recombinase. Pancreatic tissues were collected from all mice and analyzed by histology and immunohistochemistry; cells were isolated and grown in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional cultures. We performed microarray analyses to compare gene expression patterns in intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) from the different strains of mice. We obtained 58 samples of IPMNs and 44 samples of PDACs from patients who underwent pancreatectomy in Japan and analyzed them by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS - Ptf1a-Cre;Kras mice developed PanINs, whereas Ptf1a-Cre;Kras;Arid1a mice developed IPMNs and PDACs; IPMNs originated from PDCs. ARID1A-deficient IPMNs did not express SOX9. ARID1A-deficient PDCs had reduced expression of SOX9 and dedifferentiated in culture. Overexpression of SOX9 in these cells allowed them to differentiate and prevented dilation of ducts. Among mice with pancreatic expression of activated Kras, those with disruption of Arid1a developed fewer PDACs from IPMNs than mice with disruption of Brg1. ARID1A-deficient IPMNs had reduced activity of the mTOR pathway. Human IPMN and PDAC specimens had reduced levels of ARID1A, SOX9, and phosphorylated S6 (a marker of mTOR pathway activation). Levels of ARID1A correlated with levels of SOX9 and phosphorylated S6.
CONCLUSIONS - ARID1A regulates expression of SOX9, activation of the mTOR pathway, and differentiation of PDCs. ARID1A inhibits formation of PDACs from IPMNs in mice with pancreatic expression of activated KRAS and is down-regulated in IPMN and PDAC tissues from patients.
Copyright © 2018 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by an extremely dense fibrotic stroma, which contributes to tumor growth, metastasis, and drug resistance. During tumorigenesis, quiescent pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are activated and become major contributors to fibrosis, by increasing growth factor signaling and extracellular matrix deposition. The p53 tumor suppressor is known to restrict tumor initiation and progression through cell autonomous mechanisms including apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and senescence. There is growing evidence that stromal p53 also exerts anti-tumor activity by paracrine mechanisms, though a role for stromal p53 in PDAC has not yet been described. Here, we demonstrate that activation of stromal p53 exerts anti-tumor effects in PDAC. We show that primary cancer-associated PSCs (caPSCs) isolated from human PDAC express wild-type p53, which can be activated by the Mdm2 antagonist Nutlin-3a. Our work reveals that p53 acts as a major regulator of PSC activation and as a modulator of PDAC fibrosis. In vitro, p53 activation by Nutlin-3a induces profound transcriptional changes, which reprogram activated PSCs to quiescence. Using immunofluorescence and lipidomics, we have also found that p53 activation induces lipid droplet accumulation in both normal and tumor-associated fibroblasts, revealing a previously undescribed role for p53 in lipid storage. In vivo, treatment of tumor-bearing mice with the clinical form of Nutlin-3a induces stromal p53 activation, reverses caPSCs activation, and decreases fibrosis. All together our work uncovers new functions for stromal p53 in PDAC.
We performed integrated genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic profiling of 150 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) specimens, including samples with characteristic low neoplastic cellularity. Deep whole-exome sequencing revealed recurrent somatic mutations in KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, RNF43, ARID1A, TGFβR2, GNAS, RREB1, and PBRM1. KRAS wild-type tumors harbored alterations in other oncogenic drivers, including GNAS, BRAF, CTNNB1, and additional RAS pathway genes. A subset of tumors harbored multiple KRAS mutations, with some showing evidence of biallelic mutations. Protein profiling identified a favorable prognosis subset with low epithelial-mesenchymal transition and high MTOR pathway scores. Associations of non-coding RNAs with tumor-specific mRNA subtypes were also identified. Our integrated multi-platform analysis reveals a complex molecular landscape of PDAC and provides a roadmap for precision medicine.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The survival rate for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains low. More therapeutic options to treat this disease are needed, for the current standard of care is ineffective. Using an animal model of aggressive PDAC (Kras/p48), we discovered an effect of TGFβ signaling in regulation of G-CSF secretion in pancreatic epithelium. Elevated concentrations of G-CSF in PDAC promoted differentiation of Ly6G cells from progenitors, stimulated IL10 secretion from myeloid cells, and decreased T-cell proliferation via upregulation of Arg, iNOS, VEGF, IL6, and IL1b from CD11b cells. Deletion of in PDAC cells or use of a G-CSF-blocking antibody decreased tumor growth. Anti-G-CSF treatment in combination with the DNA synthesis inhibitor gemcitabine reduced tumor size, increased the number of infiltrating T cells, and decreased the number of Ly6G cells more effectively than gemcitabine alone. Human analysis of human datasets from The Cancer Genome Atlas and tissue microarrays correlated with observations from our mouse model experiments, especially in patients with grade 1, stage II disease. We propose that in aggressive PDAC, elevated G-CSF contributes to tumor progression through promoting increases in infiltration of neutrophil-like cells with high immunosuppressive activity. Such a mechanism provides an avenue for a neoadjuvant therapeutic approach for this devastating disease. .
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.