Loss of ATM accelerates pancreatic cancer formation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 29;6:7677. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8677.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with accumulation of particular oncogenic mutations and recent genetic sequencing studies have identified ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) mutations in PDAC cohorts. Here we report that conditional deletion of ATM in a mouse model of PDAC induces a greater number of proliferative precursor lesions coupled with a pronounced fibrotic reaction. ATM-targeted mice display altered TGFβ-superfamily signalling and enhanced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) coupled with shortened survival. Notably, our mouse model recapitulates many features of more aggressive human PDAC subtypes. Particularly, we report that low expression of ATM predicts EMT, a gene signature specific for Bmp4 signalling and poor prognosis in human PDAC. Our data suggest an intimate link between ATM expression and pancreatic cancer progression in mice and men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Cell Survival
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Atm protein, mouse
  • Hras protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE68808