Desmoplasia and hypoxia in pancreatic cancer mutually affect each other and create a tumor-supportive microenvironment. Here, we show that microenvironment remodeling by hypoxic pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) promotes cancer cell motility through alteration of extracellular matrix (ECM) fiber architecture. Three-dimensional (3-D) matrices derived from PSCs under hypoxia exhibited highly organized parallel-patterned matrix fibers compared with 3-D matrices derived from PSCs under normoxia, and promoted cancer cell motility by inducing directional migration of cancer cells due to the parallel fiber architecture. Microarray analysis revealed that procollagen-lysine, 2-oxoglutarate 5-dioxygenase 2 (PLOD2) in PSCs was the gene that potentially regulates ECM fiber architecture under hypoxia. Stromal PLOD2 expression in surgical specimens of pancreatic cancer was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of PLOD2 in PSCs blocked parallel fiber architecture of 3-D matrices, leading to decreased directional migration of cancer cells within the matrices. In conclusion, these findings indicate that hypoxia-induced PLOD2 expression in PSCs creates a permissive microenvironment for migration of cancer cells through architectural regulation of stromal ECM in pancreatic cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research