Growth of human pancreatic cancer is inhibited by down-regulation of gastrin gene expression

Gail L. Matters, John F. Harms, Christopher O. McGovern, Calpurnia Jayakumar, Keisha Crepin, Zachary P. Smith, Melissa C. Nelson, Heather Stock, Craig W. Fenn, James Kaiser, Mark Kester, Jill P. Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Scopus citations


    OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the effects of gastrin messenger RNA (mRNA) down-regulation on growth of human pancreatic cancer. METHODS: Gastrin expression was examined in human pancreatic cancer cell lines by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and peptide expression was assessed by immunocytochemistry. Gastrin was down-regulated using either stable transfection of an antisense gastrin cDNA or 1 of 3 shRNA (short hairpin RNA) constructs. Tumor formation was evaluated after either subcutaneous or orthotopic injections into nude mice. The effect of nanoliposomes loaded with gastrin siRNA (small interfering RNA) was tested in mice bearing pancreatic tumors. RESULTS: Stable transfection of gastrin antisense or shRNAs into BxPC-3 cells resulted in clones with more than 90% reduction in gastrin mRNA. Tumor growth rate and incidence of metastases in both wild-type and transfected pancreatic cancer cells were directly proportional to the degrees of gastrin mRNA expression. Immunofluorescence analysis confirmed that gastrin peptide levels were decreased in antisense and shRNA tumors. Gastrin knockdown clones had lower Ki-67 and increased cleaved caspase-3 staining, consistent with known effects of gastrin on proliferation and apoptosis. Tumors in mice treated with gastrin siRNA were smaller than controls. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that RNAi targeting of gastrin could serve as an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)e151-e161
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Jul 2009


    • Gastrin
    • Orthotopic tumors
    • Pancreatic cancer
    • RNAi


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