High expression of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 3 predicts poor prognosis in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Onco Targets Ther. 2016 Oct 31;9:6719-6726. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S111382. eCollection 2016.


Aims: Recent studies showed that muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 3 (M3), as a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor family member that plays an important role in normal physiological function, is engaged in cancer progression. However, the role of M3 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is not known. The aim of this study is to investigate the expression and prognostic value of M3 in patients with PDAC.

Materials and methods: The localization and expression of M3 in PDAC were examined by immunohistochemistry. VAChT was employed to detect parasympathetic nerve fibers in the corresponding M3 PDAC tissues. The correlation between M3 expression and patients' survival was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis.

Results: M3 was discovered predominantly localized in the cell cytoplasm and expressed in all specimens of PDAC patients. Significant correlation was noted between increased M3 intensity and high grade of PDAC (P<0.01), more lymph node metastasis (P<0.01) as well as shorter patient overall survival (P<0.01). Morphologically, cells with high M3 expression were more frequently located at the invasive tumor front/tumor budding cells, metastatic lymph nodes and parasympathetic nerve fibers.

Conclusion: High expression of M3 is a prognostic marker for PDAC.

Keywords: M3; PDAC; muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 3; parasympathetic nerve fiber; prognosis; tumor budding.