Epigenetic inactivation of TFPI-2 as a common mechanism associated with growth and invasion of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Norihiro Sato, Antony R. Parker, Noriyoshi Fukushima, Yohei Miyagi, Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, James R. Eshleman, Michael Goggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using microarrays, we have screened for genes reactivated by drugs that modify epigenetic mechanisms in pancreatic cancer cells. One of the genes identified was tissue factor pathway inhibitor 2 (TFPI-2), which encodes for a broad-spectrum serine proteinase inhibitor that negatively regulates the extracellular matrix degradation, an essential step in tumor invasion and metastasis. We therefore investigated the expression and methylation patterns of the TFPI-2 gene in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and determined its role in tumor growth and invasion. In contrast to its abundant expression in normal pancreas, TFPI-2 mRNA was undetectable in a high fraction of pancreatic cancer cell lines and in primary pancreatic ductal neoplasms (IPMNs). Loss of TFPI-2 expression was associated with aberrant hypermethylation of its promoter CpG island. Treatment with the phorbol ester (PMA), known to stimulate the TFPI-2 promoter activity, augmented the TFPI-2 expression in cell lines with unmethylated or partially methylated TFPI-2, but failed to induce the expression in cell lines that harbored fully methylated TFPI-2. Aberrant methylation of TFPI-2 was also detected in 73% (102/140) of pancreatic cancer xenografts and primary pancreatic adenocarcinomas, was more likely in older patients with pancreatic cancer, and significantly correlated with progression of IPMNs (P = 0.0002). Restored expression of the TFPI-2 gene in nonexpressing pancreatic cancer cells resulted in marked suppression in their proliferation, migration, and invasive potential in vitro. We thus conclude that epigenetic inactivation of TFPI-2 is a common mechanism that contributes to the aggressive phenotype of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-858
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 27 2005


  • Invasion
  • Methylation
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Protease inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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