The Role of the Stroma and CYR61 in Chemoresistance in Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal cancer in part due to inherent resistance to chemotherapy, including the first-line drug gemcitabine. Gemcitabine is a nucleoside pyrimidine analog that has long been the backbone of chemotherapy for PDAC, both as a single agent, and more recently, in combination with nab-paclitaxel. Since gemcitabine is hydrophilic, it must be transported through the hydrophobic cell membrane by transmembrane nucleoside transporters. Human equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (hENT1) and human concentrative nucleoside transporter-3 (hCNT3) both have important roles in the cellular uptake of the nucleoside analog gemcitabine. While low expression of hENT1 and hCNT3 has been linked to gemcitabine resistance clinically, mechanisms regulating their expression in the PDAC tumor microenvironment are largely unknown. We identified that the matricellular protein Cysteine-Rich Angiogenic Inducer 61 (CYR61) negatively regulates expression of hENT1 and hCNT3. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of CYR61 significantly increased expression of hENT1 and hCNT3 and cellular uptake of gemcitabine. CRSIPR-mediated knockout of CYR61 sensitized PDAC cells to gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. Conversely, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of CYR61 decreased hENT1 expression and reduced gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. We demonstrate that CYR61 is expressed primarily by stromal pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) within the PDAC tumor microenvironment, with Transforming Growth Factor- β (TGF-β) inducing the expression of CYR61 in PSCs through canonical TGF-β-ALK5-Smad signaling. Activation of TGF-β signaling or expression of CYR61 in PSCs promotes resistance to gemcitabine in an in vitro co-culture assay with PDAC cells. Our results identify CYR61 as a TGF-β induced stromal-derived factor that regulates gemcitabine sensitivity in PDAC and suggest that targeting CYR61 may improve chemotherapy response in PDAC patients.
cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61)
human concentrative nucleoside transporter 3 (hCNT3)
human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1)
pancreatic stellate cell
transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Duke Dissertations