Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common pancreatic malignancy with a dismal prognosis. Developing novel strategies to prevent or delay pancreatic cancer is currently of intense interest. The chemopreventive efficacy of gefitinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, was evaluated against the progression of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasms (PanIN) to PDAC in conditional LSL-KrasG12D/+ transgenic mice. LSL-KrasG12D/+ and p48Cre/+ mice were bred, and offspring of activated KrasG12D/+ were generated. Six-week-old male Kras G12D/+ (20 per group) and C57BL/6 wild-type (12 per group) mice were fed (AIN-76A) diets containing 0, 100, and 200 ppm of gefitinib for 35 weeks. At termination, pancreases were evaluated histopathologically for PanINs and PDAC, and various biomarkers were measured by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, immunoblotting, and/or reverse transcription-PCR. Dietary gefitinib at 100 and 200 ppm significantly suppressed PDAC incidence by 77% and 100%, respectively (P < 0.0001) when compared with control diet. Importantly, a significant inhibition of carcinoma and a dose-dependent suppression of PanINs [PanIN-1, 37-62% (P < 0.002); PanIN-2, 38-41 (P < 0.001); and PanIN-3, 7-34% (P < 0.0141)] were observed in mice treated with gefitinib. Furthermore, mice treated with 100 and 200 ppm of gefitinib exhibited 67.6% to 77.3% of the pancreas to be free from ductal lesions. Also, gefitinib reduced EGFR, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, cyclin D1, C2GNT, RhoA, β-catenin, p38, phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase, caveolin-1, and mucin and increased cyclin B1 in the pancreatic lesions/PDAC. In summary, these results show that gefitinib can prevent the progression of pancreatic cancer precursor lesions to PDAC in a preclinical model. The present study highlights the promise of chemoprevention and the potential usefulness of EGFR inhibitors in individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research