Oncogenic KRAS Reduces Expression of FGF21 in Acinar Cells to Promote Pancreatic Tumorigenesis in Mice on a High-Fat Diet.
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BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Obesity is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. In mice, a high-fat diet (HFD) and expression of oncogenic KRAS lead to development of invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) by unknown mechanisms. We investigated how oncogenic KRAS regulates the expression of fibroblast growth factor 21, FGF21, a metabolic regulator that prevents obesity, and the effects of recombinant human FGF21 (rhFGF21) on pancreatic tumorigenesis.
We performed immunohistochemical analyses of FGF21 levels in human pancreatic tissue arrays, comprising 59 PDAC specimens and 45 nontumor tissues. We also studied mice with tamoxifen-inducible expression of oncogenic KRAS in acinar cells (Kras
Pancreatic tissues of mice expressed high levels of FGF21 compared with liver tissues. FGF21 and its receptor proteins were expressed by acinar cells. Acinar cells that expressed Kras
Normal acinar cells from mice and humans express high levels of FGF21. In mice, acinar expression of oncogenic KRAS significantly reduces FGF21 expression. When these mice are placed on an HFD, they develop extensive inflammation, pancreatic cysts, PanINs, and PDACs, which are reduced by injection of FGF21. FGF21 also reduces the guanosine triphosphate binding capacity of RAS. FGF21 might be used in the prevention or treatment of pancreatic cancer.