Purpose: We have shown recently that glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) β regulates nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) - mediated pancreatic cancer cell survival and proliferation in vitro. Our objective was to determine the localization of GSK-3β in pancreatic cancer cells and assess the antitumor effect of GSK-3 inhibition in vivo to improve our understanding of the mechanism by which GSK-3β affects NF-κB activity in pancreatic cancer. Experimental Design: Immunohistochemistry and cytosolic/nuclear fractionation were done to determine the localization of GSK-3β in human pancreatic tumors. We studied the effect of GSK-3 inhibition on tumor growth, cancer cell proliferation, and survival in established CAPAN2 tumor xenografts using a tumor regrowth delay assay. Western blotting, bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase - mediated dUTP nick end labeling. Results: We found nuclear accumulation of GSK-3β in pancreatic cancer cell lines and in 62 of 122 (51%) human pancreatic adenocarcinomas. GSK-3β nuclear accumulation is significantly correlated with human pancreatic cancer dedifferentiation. We have found that active GSK-3β can accumulate in the nucleus of pancreatic cancer cells and that inhibition of GSK-3 kinase activity represses its nuclear accumulation via proteasomal degradation within the nucleus. Lastly, we have found that inhibition of GSK-3 arrests pancreatic tumor growth in vivo and decreases NF-κB-mediated pancreatic cancer cell survival and proliferation in established tumor xenografts. Conclusions: Our results show the antitumor effect of GSK-3 inhibition in vivo, identify GSK-3β nuclear accumulation as a hallmark of poorly differentiated pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and provide new insight into the mechanism by which GSK-3β regulates NF-κB activity in pancreatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research