New Biomarker Found for Pancreatic Ductal Carcinoma

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The pancreatic protein, PEAK1, is a novel biomarker and new therapeutic target in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), according to researchers of the University of California at San Diego and their colleagues. This conclusion is based on a paper entitled “KRas Induces a Src/PEAK1/ErbB2 Kinase Amplification Loop That Drives Metastatic Growth and Therapy Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer,” which was published in Cancer Research on May 15. In this study, the investigators aimed to establish the early biomarkers and effective therapeutic strategies so desperately needed to treat PDAC, a disease with a dismal 5-year survival rate.

In this study, human biopsies of PDACs and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia contained higher than normal expression levels of the novel tyrosine kinase PEAK1. The presence of an oncogenic KRas gene also induced a PEAK1-dependent kinase amplification loop between Src, PEAK1, and ErbB2 to drive PDAC tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. The investigator also discovered that inhibiting ErbB2 expression increased PEAK1 expression and tumor growth in vivo; this finding suggested a rationale for the common therapeutic resistance found in PDACs. “Importantly, PEAK1 inactivation sensitized PDAC cells to trastuzumab and gemcitabine therapy,” the investigators wrote.

The investigators concluded that “PEAK1 is a novel biomarker, critical signaling hub, and new therapeutic target in PDACs.”


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