Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) enhance the malignant behavior of pancreatic cancer by interacting with cancer cells and producing extracellular matrix (ECM). To date, several stroma-targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer have been attempted, but these therapies are still not in practical use. Integrins expressed in stromal cells are involved in fibrosis of several organs, as well as promoting tumor malignancy. We investigated whether CD51, also known as integrin αV, expressed in PSCs was associated with stromal formation of pancreatic cancer and enhancement of tumor malignancy. We also assessed the effects of suppression of CD51 in PSCs on pancreatic cancer. Immunohistochemistry for CD51 in resected pancreatic cancer tissues showed that high expression of CD51 in the tumor stroma was associated with lymph node metastasis (P=0.025), positive pathologic margin (P=0.025), and shorter patient survival times (P=0.043). Lentivirus-mediated short hairpin RNA knockdown of CD51 decreased the proliferation and migration of PSCs. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that expression levels of genes related with ECM and tumor-stromal interactions were decreased by CD51 knockdown in PSCs. In a co-implantation model of pancreatic cancer cells and PSCs, tumor growth in vivo was inhibited by CD51 knockdown in PSCs (P<0.05). We also found reduced tumor stroma and decreased proliferation of cancer cells in implanted cancer tissues with CD51-silenced PSCs (P<0.05). Our results showed that CD51 expression in pancreatic cancer stroma is associated with enhanced tumor malignancy and that CD51 may be a potential therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research