Article

Oncogenic Kras is required for both the initiation and maintenance of pancreatic cancer in mice

Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 02/2012; 122(2):639-53. DOI: 10.1172/JCI59227
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Pancreatic cancer is almost invariably associated with mutations in the KRAS gene, most commonly KRASG12D, that result in a dominant-active form of the KRAS GTPase. However, how KRAS mutations promote pancreatic carcinogenesis is not fully understood, and whether oncogenic KRAS is required for the maintenance of pancreatic cancer has not been established. To address these questions, we generated two mouse models of pancreatic tumorigenesis: mice transgenic for inducible KrasG12D, which allows for inducible, pancreas-specific, and reversible expression of the oncogenic KrasG12D, with or without inactivation of one allele of the tumor suppressor gene p53. Here, we report that, early in tumorigenesis, induction of oncogenic KrasG12D reversibly altered normal epithelial differentiation following tissue damage, leading to precancerous lesions. Inactivation of KrasG12D in established precursor lesions and during progression to cancer led to regression of the lesions, indicating that KrasG12D was required for tumor cell survival. Strikingly, during all stages of carcinogenesis, KrasG12D upregulated Hedgehog signaling, inflammatory pathways, and several pathways known to mediate paracrine interactions between epithelial cells and their surrounding microenvironment, thus promoting formation and maintenance of the fibroinflammatory stroma that plays a pivotal role in pancreatic cancer. Our data establish that epithelial KrasG12D influences multiple cell types to drive pancreatic tumorigenesis and is essential for tumor maintenance. They also strongly support the notion that inhibiting KrasG12D, or its downstream effectors, could provide a new approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

    • "K-ras mutations are frequently observed in cancer (30% of cancer), especially in pancreatic cancer where mutations in K-ras (mainly at codons 12 and 13) are nearly systematic (N 90%) [8]. Moreover, mutated K-ras is detected as early as PanIN-1A and participates in both initiation and progression of pancreatic carcinogenesis [9]. However, K-ras is still an undruggable clinical target [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The membrane-bound mucin MUC4 is a high molecular weight glycoprotein frequently deregulated in cancer. In pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly cancers in occidental countries, MUC4 is neo-expressed in the preneoplastic stages and thereafter is involved in cancer cell properties leading to cancer progression and chemoresistance. K-ras oncogene is a small GTPase of the RAS superfamily, highly implicated in cancer. K-ras mutations are considered as an initiating event of pancreatic carcinogenesis and K-ras oncogenic activities are necessary components of cancer progression. However, K-ras remains clinically undruggable. Targeting early downstream K-ras signaling in cancer may thus appear as an interesting strategy and MUC4 regulation by K-ras in pancreatic carcinogenesis remains unknown. Using the Pdx1-Cre; LStopL-K-rasG12D mouse model of pancreatic carcinogenesis, we show that the in vivo early neo-expression of the mucin Muc4 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplastic lesions (PanINs) induced by mutated K-ras is correlated with the activation of ERK, JNK and NF-κB signaling pathways. In vitro, transfection of constitutively activated K-rasG12V in pancreatic cancer cells led to the transcriptional upregulation of MUC4. This activation was found to be mediated at the transcriptional level by AP-1 and NF-κB transcription factors via MAPK, JNK and NF-κB pathways and at the post-transcriptional level by a mechanism involving the RalB GTPase. Altogether, these results identify MUC4 as a transcriptional and post-transcriptional target of K-ras in pancreatic cancer. This opens avenues in developing new approaches to target the early steps of this deadly cancer.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    • "Transgenic mouse models represent another distinct system that have been utilized in cancer research. These models are most often used to assess the impact of relevant oncogenic mutations to tumorigenesis and therapeutic response for a variety of human cancers including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma [29], [30], soft-tissue sarcoma [31], lung adenocarcinoma [32], HNC [33] and many others. The scope of questions that can be examined by transgenic mice is quite broad as exemplified by prior studies on transgenic mice expressing human papillomavirus (HPV) oncogenes in which interactions between these specific oncogenes with fanconi anemia deficiency genes [34], estrogen and cervical cancer progression [35], and oncoprotein expression in relation to lymphocyte trafficking [36] have been elucidated. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Patient derived xenografts (PDXs) for head and neck cancer (HNC) and other cancers represent powerful research platforms. Most groups implant patient tissue into immunodeficient mice immediately although the significance of this time interval is anecdotal. We tested the hypothesis that the time from tumor excision to implantation is crucial for PDX passaging and establishment. Methods We examined whether time or storage medium affected PDX viability for passaging two established HNC PDXs (UW-SCC34, UW-SCC52). Tumors were harvested, stored in ice-cold media or saline for 0–48 hours, and implanted into new mice. Tumor growth was compared by two-way ANOVA with respect to time and storage condition. Three new HNC PDXs (UW-SCC63-65) were generated by implanting patient tissue into mice immediately (Time 0) and 24 hours after receiving tissue from the operating room. Results Similar quantities of tumor were implanted into each mouse. At the end of the experiment, no significant difference was seen in mean tumor weight between the media and saline storage conditions for UW-SCC34 or UW-SCC52 (p = 0.650 and p = 0.177, respectively). No difference in tumor formation prevalence was seen on the basis of time from harvest to implantation (≥13 of 16 tumors grew at every time point). Histological analysis showed strong similarity to the initial tumor across all groups. Tumors developed at both Time 0 and 24 hours for UW-SCC63 and UW-SCC64. Conclusions We demonstrated that neither storage medium nor time from tumor excision to implantation (up to 48 hours) affected viability or histological differentiation in a subsequent passage for two HNC PDXs. Moreover, we revealed that fresh patient tissue is viable up to 24 hours post-resection. This information is important as it applies to the development and sharing of PDXs.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Therefore, it is highly desirable to discover and characterize more effective therapeutic targets for pancreatic cancer treatment. The oncogene KRAS plays an essential role in the progression of pancreatic cancer [9] [10]. In our previous studies , two stable transfected cell lines (P-M and P-W) were constructed through lentivirus-mediated short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting of the KRAS gene in PANC-1 cells, enabling us to investigate the cellular response to KRAS knockdown [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer remains a major unsolved health problem lacking a potent therapeutic option. Our previous studies showed that the ribosomal protein L39 (RPL39) gene was up-regulated after long-term silencing of oncogenic KRAS in pancreatic cancer PANC-1 cells, which indicated that RPL39 may be important for pancreatic cancer development and survival. In the current study, small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting of the RPL39 gene was performed to determine the effects of the RPL39 gene on growth of pancreatic cancer PANC-1 and BxPC-3 cells in vitro and in vivo. Results from in vitro experiments showed that knockdown of RPL39 expression with RPL39-siRNA suppressed cell proliferation and specifically enhanced cell apoptosis significantly in both PANC-1 and BxPC-3 cells. The increase of caspase-8 activities and the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential after RPL39 silencing indicated that the RPL39 gene may be involved in caspase-8-related mitochondrial apoptosis. Further, treatment with the RPL39-siRNA inhibited the growth of a human pancreatic cancer xenograft in BALB/c nude mice, accompanied by a decreased expression of RPL39. In the xenograft tumors with injection of RPL39-siRNA, the expressions of Ki-67 and CD31 were significantly down-regulated, and apoptosis was markedly induced. Our findings suggested that siRNA against the RPL39 gene may be of value for gene therapy of pancreatic cancer.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Biotechnology Journal
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