Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with high mortality and will become the second most common cause of cancer-associated mortality by 2030. The poor prognosis arises from a lack of sensitive biomarkers, limited therapeutic options, and the astonishingly high recurrence rate after surgery of 60-80%. The factors driving this recurrence, however, remain enigmatic. Therefore, we generated patient-derived organoids (PDOs) from early- and late-recurrent PDAC patients. Cellular identity of PDOs was confirmed by qPCR, ddPCR, and IHC analyses. This is the first study investigating the metabolism in PDOs of different, clinically significant PDAC entities by untargeted GC/MS profiling. Partial least square discriminant analysis unveiled global alterations between the two sample groups. We identified nine metabolites to be increased in early recurrent PDOs in comparison to late recurrent PDOs. More than four-times increased were fumarate, malate, glutamate, aspartate, and glutamine. Hence, α-keto acids were elevated in PDO-conditioned medium derived from early recurrent patients. We therefore speculate that an increased anaplerotic metabolism fuels the Krebs-cycle and a corresponding higher accessibility to energy fastens the recurrence in PDAC patients. Therein, a therapeutic intervention could delay PDAC recurrence and prolong survival of affected patients or could serve as biomarker to predict recurrence in the future.
Keywords: GC/MS; PDAC; PDO culture; anaplerotic TCA-cycle; glutamate; metabolomics; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; patient derived organoids; recurrence; relapse.