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Cells 2018, 7(10), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells7100158

Tumor–Stroma Cross-Talk in Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: A Focus on the Effect of the Extracellular Matrix on Tumor Cell Phenotype and Invasive Potential

1
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, via L. Mangiagalli 31, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences “L. Sacco”, Università degli Studi di Milano, via G.B. Grassi 74, 20157 Milan, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 5 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Matrix Remodeling)
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Abstract

The extracellular matrix (ECM) in the tumor microenvironment modulates the cancer cell phenotype, especially in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a tumor characterized by an intense desmoplastic reaction. Because the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that provides cancer cells with a metastatic phenotype, plays an important role in PDAC progression, the authors aimed to explore in vitro the interactions between human PDAC cells and ECM components of the PDAC microenvironment, focusing on the expression of EMT markers and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that are able to digest the basement membrane during tumor invasion. EMT markers and the invasive potential of HPAF-II, HPAC, and PL45 cells grown on different ECM substrates (fibronectin, laminin, and collagen) were analyzed. While N-cadherin, αSMA, and type I collagen were not significantly affected by ECM components, the E-cadherin/β-catenin complex was highly expressed in all the experimental conditions, and E-cadherin was upregulated by collagen in PL45 cells. Cell migration was unaffected by fibronectin and delayed by laminin. In contrast, collagen significantly stimulated cell migration and the secretion of MMPs. This study’s results showed that ECM components impacted cell migration and invasive potential differently. Collagen exerted a more evident effect, providing new insights into the understanding of the intricate interplay between ECM molecules and cancer cells, in order to find novel therapeutic targets for PDAC treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; E-cadherin; MMPs; cell migration; extracellular matrix remodeling epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; E-cadherin; MMPs; cell migration; extracellular matrix remodeling
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Procacci, P.; Moscheni, C.; Sartori, P.; Sommariva, M.; Gagliano, N. Tumor–Stroma Cross-Talk in Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: A Focus on the Effect of the Extracellular Matrix on Tumor Cell Phenotype and Invasive Potential. Cells 2018, 7, 158.

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