Microenvironment-Driven Metastasis

The dismal prognosis of PDAC is largely due to the inability to diagnose the disease before metastasis occurs. Tumor cell dissemination occurs early in PDAC. While it is known that inflammation facilitates this process, the underlying mechanisms responsible for this progression have not been fully characterized.

We identified MTSS1 metastasis suppressor 1 (MTSS1) while searching for metastasis-related genes whose expression was linked to desmoplasia and poor prognosis in patients. Despite evidence showing that MTSS1 could be important for regulating metastasis in many different cancers, its function in PDAC had not been studied.

We have functionally shown that loss of MTSS1 leads to increased invasion and migration in PDAC cell lines. Moreover, PDAC cells treated with cancer-associated fibroblast-conditioned media also have increased metastatic potential, which is augmented by loss of MTSS1. Finally, overexpression of MTSS1 in PDAC cell lines leads to a loss of migratory potential in vitro and an increase in overall survival in vivo. Collectively, our data provide insight into an important role for MTSS1 in suppressing tumor cell invasion and migration driven by the tumor microenvironment and suggest that therapeutic strategies aimed at increasing MTSS1 levels may effectively slow the development of metastatic lesions, increasing survival of patients with PDAC.

Related Publications

Zeleniak A*, Huang W*, Fishel M, and Hill R. PTEN-Dependent Stabilization of MTSS1 Inhibits Metastatic Phenotype in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Neoplasia. 2017 Nov 22;20(1):12-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2017.10.004.

Zeleniak A, Huang W, Brinkman M, Fishel M, and Hill R. Loss of MTSS1 Results in Increased Metastatic Potential in Pancreatic Cancer. Oncotarget 2017 Mar 7;8(10):16473-16487. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.14869.