Background: Serine hydrolases (SHs) are among the largest classes of enzymes in humans and play crucial role in many pathophysiological processes of cancer. We have undertaken a comprehensive proteomic analysis to assess the differential expression and cellular localization of SHs, which uncovered distinctive expression of Carboxylesterase 2 (CES2), the most efficient carboxyl esterase in activating the prodrug irinotecan into SN-38, in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We therefore assessed the extent of heterogeneity in CES2 expression in PDAC and its potential relevance to irinotecan based therapy. Methods: CES2 expression in PDAC and paired nontumor tissues was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. CES2 activity was assessed by monitoring the hydrolysis of the substrate p-NPA and correlated with irinotecan IC50 values by means of Pearson's correlation. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were applied to assess the association between overall survival and CES2 expression in patients who underwent neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX treatment. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: Statistically significant overexpression of CES2, both at the mRNA and protein levels, was observed in PDAC compared with paired nontumor tissue (P 50 values (R = -0.68, P =. 02). High CES2 expression in tumor tissue was associated with longer overall survival in resectable and borderline resectable patients who underwent neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX treatment (hazard ratio = 0.14, 95% confidence interval = 0.04 to 0.51, P =. 02). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that CES2 expression and activity, by mediating the intratumoral activation of irinotecan, is a contributor to FOLFIRINOX sensitivity in pancreatic cancer and CES2 assessment may define a subset of patients likely to respond to irinotecan based therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research