OBJECTIVES: CD105 expression correlates with prognosis for several cancers. However, its significance in pancreatic cancer is unclear. METHODS: We analyzed CD105 expression in resected pancreatic cancer tissue and pancreatic cancer cell lines, compared the properties of CD105 and CD105 cells using quantitative RT-PCR and migration assays, and evaluated the relationship between CD105 cells and pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry showed that the frequency of CD105 expression was higher in pancreatic cancer than that in normal tissue (8% vs 0%, respectively). In flow cytometry, CD105 was expressed in pancreatic cancer cells, whereas weak CD105 expression was detected in normal pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that E-cadherin mRNA expression was suppressed and vimentin mRNA was overexpressed in CD105 cells (P < 0.05). Migration of CD105 cancer cells was strongly enhanced (more than that of CD105 cells) in coculture with PSCs (P < 0.05). CD105 expression did not correlate to clinicopathologic characteristics or the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Suppression of an epithelial marker and overexpression of a mesenchymal marker suggest that epithelial-mesenchymal transition is induced in CD105 pancreatic cancer cells. CD105 pancreatic cancer cell migration is strongly enhanced by PSCs, suggesting that these cells play a role in the pancreatic cancer microenvironment.
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