[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. The prognosis remains dismal with little advance in treatment. Metformin is a drug widely used for the treatment of type II diabetes. Recent epidemiologic data revealed that oral administration of metformin is associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer, suggesting its potential as a novel drug for this disease. Many studies have demonstrated the in vitro anticancer action of metformin, but the typically used concentrations were much higher than the in vivo plasma and tissue concentrations achieved with recommended therapeutic doses of metformin, and low concentrations of metformin had little effect on the proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells. We examined the effect of low concentrations of metformin on different subpopulations of pancreatic cancer cells and found that these selectively inhibited the proliferation of CD133(+) but not CD24(+)CD44(+)ESA(+) cells. We also examined the effect of low concentrations of metformin on cell invasion and in vivo tumor formation, demonstrating in vitro and in vivo anticancer action. Metformin was associated with a reduction of phospho-Erk and phospho-mTOR independent of Akt and AMPK phosphorylation. CD133(+) pancreatic cancer cells are considered to be cancer stem cells that contribute to recurrence, metastasis and resistance to adjuvant therapies in pancreatic cancer. Our results provide a basis for combination of metformin with current therapies to improve the prognosis of this disease.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e63969. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignancies with poor prognosis. Previously, we found that a subpopulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the Panc-1 pancreatic cancer cell line could propagate to form spheres. Here we characterized the malignant phenotypes of the pancreatic cancer stem CD44+/CD24+ cells, which were enriched under sphere forming conditions as analyzed by flow cytometry. These cells demonstrated increased resistance to gemcitabine and increased migration ability. Moreover, these cells exhibited epithelial to mesenchymal transition characterized by a decreased level of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and an increased level of the mesenchymal marker vimentin. Notably, abnormal expression of Bmi-1, ABCG2, Cyclin D1 and p16 were found in Panc-1 CSCs. Our results suggest that targeted inhibition of CSCs represents a novel therapeutic approach to overcome chemoresistance and metastasis of pancreatic cancer.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2011; 12(3):1595-604. · 2.46 Impact Factor