UMMS Affiliation

Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine; Cancer Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Cancer Biology


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a poor prognostic cancer, commonly develops following activating mutations in the KRAS oncogene. Activation of WNT signaling is also commonly observed in PDAC. To ascertain the impact of postnatal activation of WNT-stimulated signaling pathways in PDAC development, we combined the Elastase-tva-based RCAS-TVA pancreatic cancer model with the established LSL-KrasG12D, Ptf1a-cre model. Delivery of RCAS viruses encoding beta-cateninS37A and WNT1 stimulated the progression of premalignant pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanIN) and PDAC development. Moreover, mice injected with RCAS-beta-cateninS37A or RCAS-Wnt1 had reduced survival relative to RCAS-GFP-injected controls (P < .05). Ectopic expression of active beta-catenin, or its DNA-binding partner TCF4, enhanced transformation associated phenotypes in PDAC cells. In contrast, these phenotypes were significantly impaired by the introduction of ICAT, an inhibitor of the beta-catenin/TCF4 interaction. By gene expression profiling, we identified Cyr61 as a target molecule of the WNT/beta-catenin signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer cells. Nuclear beta-catenin and CYR61 expression were predominantly detected in moderately to poorly differentiated murine and human PDAC. Indeed, nuclear beta-catenin- and CYR61-positive PDAC patients demonstrated poor prognosis (P < .01). Knockdown of CYR61 in a beta-catenin-activated pancreatic cancer cell line reduced soft agar, migration and invasion activity. Together, these data suggest that the WNT/beta-catenin signaling pathway enhances pancreatic cancer development and malignancy in part via up-regulation of CYR61.

DOI of Published Version



Neoplasia. 2016 Dec;18(12):785-794. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2016.11.004. Epub 2016 Nov 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)


Full author list omitted for brevity. For full list of authors see article.

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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