Sonic hedgehog (Shh), a soluble ligand overexpressed by neoplastic cells in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), drives formation of a fibroblast-rich desmoplastic stroma. To better understand its role in malignant progression, we deleted Shh in a well-defined mouse model of PDAC. As predicted, Shh-deficient tumors had reduced stromal content. Surprisingly, such tumors were more aggressive and exhibited undifferentiated histology, increased vascularity, and heightened proliferation--features that were fully recapitulated in control mice treated with a Smoothened inhibitor. Furthermore, administration of VEGFR blocking antibody selectively improved survival of Shh-deficient tumors, indicating that Hedgehog-driven stroma suppresses tumor growth in part by restraining tumor angiogenesis. Together, these data demonstrate that some components of the tumor stroma can act to restrain tumor growth.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.