Aminopyridine analogs selectively target metastatic pancreatic cancer

Rana V. Smalling, Matthew E. Bechard, Jeff Duryea, Philip J. Kingsley, Evan R. Roberts, Lawrence J. Marnett, Daniel Bilbao, Shaun R. Stauffer, Oliver G. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metastatic outgrowth is supported by metabolic adaptations that may differ from the primary tumor of origin. However, it is unknown if such adaptations are therapeutically actionable. Here we report a novel aminopyridine compound that targets a unique Phosphogluconate Dehydrogenase (PGD)-dependent metabolic adaptation in distant metastases from pancreatic cancer patients. Compared to structurally similar analogs, 6-aminopicolamine (6AP) potently and selectively reversed PGD-dependent metastatic properties, including intrinsic tumorigenic capacity, excess glucose consumption, and global histone hyperacetylation. 6AP acted as a water-soluble prodrug that was converted into intracellular bioactive metabolites that inhibited PGD in vitro, and 6AP monotherapy demonstrated anti-metastatic efficacy with minimal toxicity in vivo. Collectively, these studies identify 6AP and possibly other 6-aminopyridines as well-tolerated prodrugs with selectivity for metastatic pancreatic cancers. If unique metabolic adaptations are a common feature of metastatic or otherwise aggressive human malignancies, then such dependencies could provide a largely untapped pool of druggable targets for patients with advanced cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1518-1525
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 4 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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