Resident fibroblasts that contact tumor epithelial cells (TEC) can become irreversibly activated as cancer-associated-fibroblasts (CAF) that stimulate oncogenic signaling in TEC. In this study, we evaluated the cross-talk between CAF and TEC isolated from tumors generated in a mouse model of KRAS/mut p53-induced pancreatic cancer (KPC mice). Transcriptomic profiling conducted after treatment with the anticancer compound Minnelide revealed deregulation of the TGFβ signaling pathway in CAF, resulting in an apparent reversal of their activated state to a quiescent, nonproliferative state. TEC exposed to media conditioned by drug-treated CAFs exhibited a decrease in oncogenic signaling, as manifested by downregulation of the transcription factor Sp1. This inhibition was rescued by treating TEC with TGFβ. Given promising early clinical studies with Minnelide, our findings suggest that approaches to inactivate CAF and prevent tumor-stroma cross-talk may offer a viable strategy to treat pancreatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research