Context-dependent transformation of adult pancreatic cells by oncogenic K-Ras

Cancer Cell. 2009 Nov 6;16(5):379-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.09.027.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal human malignancies. To investigate the cellular origin(s) of this cancer, we determined the effect of PDAC-relevant gene mutations in distinct cell types of the adult pancreas. We show that a subpopulation of Pdx1-expressing cells is susceptible to oncogenic K-Ras-induced transformation without tissue injury, whereas insulin-expressing endocrine cells are completely refractory to transformation under these conditions. However, chronic pancreatic injury can alter their endocrine fate and allow them to serve as the cell of origin for exocrine neoplasia. These results suggest that one mechanism by which inflammation and/or tissue damage can promote neoplasia is by altering the fate of differentiated cells that are normally refractory to oncogenic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Hras protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)