Research Summary: Activated K-ras and INK4a/Arf Deficiency Cooperate During the Development of Pancreatic Cancer by Activation of Notch and NF-κB Signaling Pathways



Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, suggesting that novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of PDAC are urgently needed. K-ras mutations are observed in >90% of pancreatic cancer, suggesting its role in the initiation and early developmental stages of PDAC. In order to gain mechanistic insight as to the role of mutated K-ras, several mouse models have been developed by targeting a conditionally mutated K-rasG12D for recapitulating PDAC. A significant co-operativity has been shown in tumor development and metastasis in a compound mouse model with activated K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency. However, the molecular mechanism(s) by which K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency contribute to PDAC has not been fully elucidated.

Methodology/Principal Findings

To assess the molecular mechanism(s) that are involved in the development of PDAC in the compound transgenic mice with activated K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency, we used multiple methods, such as Real-time RT-PCR, western blotting assay, immunohistochemistry, MTT assay, invasion, EMSA and ELISA. We found that the deletion of Ink4a/Arf in K-rasG12D expressing mice leads to PDAC, which is in part mediated through the activation of Notch and NF-κB signaling pathways. Moreover, we found down-regulation of miR-200 family, which could also play important roles in tumor development and progression of PDAC in the compound transgenic mice.


Our results suggest that the activation of Notch and NF-κB together with the loss of miR-200 family is mechanistically linked with the development and progression of PDAC in the compound K-rasG12D and Ink4a/Arf deficient transgenic mice.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 3-June-2011

Author(s): Wang Z., Banerjee S., Ahmad A., Li Y., Azmi A., Gunn J., Kong D., Bao B., Ali S., Gao J., Mohammad R., Miele L., Korc M., Sarkar F.


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