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TRAIL promotes metastasis of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has attracted considerable attention for its potential use in tumor therapy, as some recombinant variants of this ligand induce apoptosis in tumor cells without harming most normal cells. Here, we show that TRAIL strongly induces the expression of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and enhances the invasion of apoptosis-resistant pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells in vitro by upregulation of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator expression. Most importantly, we also demonstrate for the first time that TRAIL treatment results in strongly increased distant metastasis of pancreatic tumors in vivo. We orthotopically transplanted human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cells to the pancreata of severe combined immunodeficiency mice and observed a dramatic increase in metastatic spread including a sixfold increase in the volume and fourfold increase in the number of liver metastases upon TRAIL treatment. Our results point to the necessity to carefully evaluate in vivo side effects of TRAIL and to select therapy conditions that not only enhance apoptosis induction but in addition prevent proinvasive and proinflammatory non-apoptotic TRAIL signaling.

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We thank Beate Bestmann, MA, Reference Center for Quality of Life, University of Kiel, Germany, for helpful advice in statistical data evaluation. This study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant SFB 415-A3 to HK and Grant SFB 487-B7 to HW) and Deutsche Krebshilfe (Grant 10-1751-Wa 3 to HW).

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Correspondence to H Kalthoff.

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Trauzold, A., Siegmund, D., Schniewind, B. et al. TRAIL promotes metastasis of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Oncogene 25, 7434–7439 (2006).

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  • pancreatic cancer
  • metastasis
  • invasion

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