Inhibition of NF-kappa B pathway leads to deregulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and neural invasion in pancreatic cancer

Alice Nomura, Kaustav Majumder, Bhuwan Giri, Patricia Dauer, Vikas Dudeja, Sabita Roy, Sulagna Banerjee, Ashok K. Saluja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


NF-κB has an essential role in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer and specifically mediates the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasiveness. In this study, we demonstrate the importance of activated NF-κB signaling in EMT induction, lymphovascular metastasis, and neural invasion. Modulation of NF-κB activity was accomplished through the specific NF-κB inhibitor (BAY 11-7085), triptolide, and Minnelide treatment, as well as overexpression of IKBα repressor and IKK activator plasmids. In the classical lymphovascular metastatic cascade, inhibition of NF-κB decreased the expression of several EMT transcription factors (SNAI1, SNAI2, and ZEB1) and mesenchymal markers (VIM and CDH2) and decreased in vitro invasion, which was rescued by IKK activation. This was further demonstrated in vivo via BAY 11-7085 treatment in a orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer. In vivo NF-κB inhibition decreased tumor volume; decreased tumor EMT gene expression, while restoring cell-cell junctions; and decreasing overall metastasis. Furthermore, we demonstrate the importance of active NF-κB signaling in neural invasion. Triptolide treatment inhibits Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) mediated, neural-tumor co-culture in vitro invasion, and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neural outgrowth through a disruption in tumor-neural cross talk. In vivo, Minnelide treatment decreased neurotrophin expression, nerve density, and sciatic nerve invasion. Taken together, this study demonstrates the importance of NF-κB signaling in the progression of pancreatic cancer through the modulation of EMT induction, lymphovascular invasion, and neural invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1278
Number of pages11
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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