Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is particularly metastatic, with dismal survival rates and few treatment options. Stiff fibrotic stroma is a hallmark of pancreatic tumours, but how stromal mechanosensing affects metastasis is still unclear. Here, we show that mechanical changes in the pancreatic cancer cell environment affect not only adhesion and migration, but also ATP/ADP and ATP/AMP ratios. Unbiased metabolomic analysis reveals that the creatine–phosphagen ATP-recycling system is a major mechanosensitive target. This system depends on arginine flux through the urea cycle, which is reflected by the increased incorporation of carbon and nitrogen from l-arginine into creatine and phosphocreatine on stiff matrix. We identify that CKB is a mechanosensitive transcriptional target of YAP, and thus it increases phosphocreatine production. We further demonstrate that the creatine–phosphagen system has a role in invasive migration, chemotaxis and liver metastasis of cancer cells.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes