Cell of origin influences pancreatic cancer subtype

Brittany M. Flowers, Hang Xu, Abigail S. Mulligan, Kathryn J. Hanson, Jose A. Seoane, Hannes Vogel, Christina Curtis, Laura D. Wood, Laura D. Attardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a deadly disease with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 9%. An improved understanding of PDAC initiation and pro-gression is paramount for discovering strategies to better detect and combat this disease. Although transcriptomic analyses have uncovered distinct molecular subtypes of human PDAC, the factors that influence subtype development remain unclear. Here, we interrogate the impact of cell of origin and different Trp53 alleles on tumor evolution, using a panel of tractable genetically engineered mouse models. Oncogenic KRAS expression, coupled with Trp53 deletion or point mutation, drives PDAC from both acinar and ductal cells. Gene-expression analysis reveals further that ductal cell–derived and acinar cell–derived tumor signatures are enriched in basal-like and classical subtypes of human PDAC, respectively. These findings highlight cell of origin as one factor that influences PDAC molecular sub-types and provide insight into the fundamental impact that the very earliest events in carcinogenesis can have on cancer evolution. SIGNIFICANCE: Although human PDAC has been classified into different molecular subtypes, the etiol-ogy of these distinct subtypes remains unclear. Using mouse genetics, we reveal that cell of origin is an important determinant of PDAC molecular subtype. Deciphering the biology underlying pancreatic cancer subtypes may reveal meaningful distinctions that could improve clinical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-677
Number of pages18
JournalCancer discovery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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