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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tumor stroma interactions induce chemoresistance in pancreatic ductal carcinoma cells involving increased secretion and paracrine effects of nitric oxide and interleukin-1beta.

Pancreatic ductal carcinoma is characterized by a profound chemoresistance. As we have shown previously, these tumor cells can develop chemoresistance by interleukin (IL)-1beta in an autocrine and nuclear factor-kappaB-dependent fashion. Because pancreatic ductal carcinoma contains many mesenchymal stromal cells, we further investigated how tumor-stroma interactions contribute to chemoresistance by using a transwell coculture model, including murine pancreatic fibroblasts and the chemosensitive human pancreatic carcinoma cell lines T3M4 and PT45-P1. If cultured with fibroblast-conditioned medium or kept in coculture with fibroblasts, both cell lines became much less sensitive toward treatment with etoposide than cells cultured under standard conditions. Furthermore, the secretion of IL-1beta in T3M4 and PT45-P1 cells was increased by the fibroblasts, and IL-1beta-receptor blockade abolished the resistance-inducing effect during cocultivation. This stimulated IL-1beta secretion could be attributed to nitric oxide (NO) released by the fibroblasts as an IL-1beta-inducing factor. Although both tumor cells secreted only little NO, which was in line with undetectable inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, fibroblasts exhibited significant iNOS expression and NO secretion that could be further induced by the tumor cells. Incubation of T3M4 and PT45-P1 cells with the NO donor S-Nitroso-N-acetyl-D,L-penicillamine up-regulated IL-1beta secretion and conferred resistance toward etoposide-induced apoptosis. Conversely, the resistance-inducing effect of the fibroblasts was significantly abolished, when the specific iNOS inhibitor aminoguanidine was added during coculture. Immunohistochemistry on tissue sections from human pancreatic ductal carcinoma also revealed iNOS expression in stromal cells and IL-1beta expression in tumor cells, thus supporting the in vitro findings. These data clearly demonstrate that fibroblasts contribute to the development of chemoresistance in pancreatic carcinoma cells via increased secretion of NO, which in turn leads to an elevated release of IL-1beta by the tumor cells. These findings substantiate the implication of tumor-stromal interactions in the chemoresistance of pancreatic carcinoma.[1]


  1. Tumor stroma interactions induce chemoresistance in pancreatic ductal carcinoma cells involving increased secretion and paracrine effects of nitric oxide and interleukin-1beta. Müerköster, S., Wegehenkel, K., Arlt, A., Witt, M., Sipos, B., Kruse, M.L., Sebens, T., Klöppel, G., Kalthoff, H., Fölsch, U.R., Schäfer, H. Cancer Res. (2004) [Pubmed]
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