Background: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly lethal cancer, requiring novel treatments to target both cancer cells and cancer stem cells (CSCs). Altered splicing is emerging as both a novel cancer hallmark and an attractive therapeutic target. The core splicing factor SF3B1 is heavily altered in cancer and can be inhibited by Pladienolide-B, but its actionability in PDAC is unknown. We explored the presence and role of SF3B1 in PDAC and interrogated its potential as an actionable target. Methods: SF3B1 was analyzed in PDAC tissues, an RNA-seq dataset, and publicly available databases, examining associations with splicing alterations and key features/genes. Functional assays in PDAC cell lines and PDX-derived CSCs served to test Pladienolide-B treatment effects in vitro, and in vivo in zebrafish and mice. Results: SF3B1 was overexpressed in human PDAC and associated with tumor grade and lymph-node involvement. SF3B1 levels closely associated with distinct splicing event profiles and expression of key PDAC players (KRAS, TP53). In PDAC cells, Pladienolide-B increased apoptosis and decreased multiple tumor-related features, including cell proliferation, migration, and colony/sphere formation, altering AKT and JNK signaling, and favoring proapoptotic splicing variants (BCL-XS/BCL-XL, KRASa/KRAS, Δ133TP53/TP53). Importantly, Pladienolide-B similarly impaired CSCs, reducing their stemness capacity and increasing their sensitivity to chemotherapy. Pladienolide-B also reduced PDAC/CSCs xenograft tumor growth in vivo in zebrafish and in mice. Conclusion: SF3B1 overexpression represents a therapeutic vulnerability in PDAC, as altered splicing can be targeted with Pladienolide-B both in cancer cells and CSCs, paving the way for novel therapies for this lethal cancer.

Dysregulated splicing factor SF3B1 unveils a dual therapeutic vulnerability to target pancreatic cancer cells and cancer stem cells with an anti-splicing drug

Mafficini, Andrea;Lawlor, Rita T;Luchini, Claudio;Scarpa, Aldo;
2021

Abstract

Background: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly lethal cancer, requiring novel treatments to target both cancer cells and cancer stem cells (CSCs). Altered splicing is emerging as both a novel cancer hallmark and an attractive therapeutic target. The core splicing factor SF3B1 is heavily altered in cancer and can be inhibited by Pladienolide-B, but its actionability in PDAC is unknown. We explored the presence and role of SF3B1 in PDAC and interrogated its potential as an actionable target. Methods: SF3B1 was analyzed in PDAC tissues, an RNA-seq dataset, and publicly available databases, examining associations with splicing alterations and key features/genes. Functional assays in PDAC cell lines and PDX-derived CSCs served to test Pladienolide-B treatment effects in vitro, and in vivo in zebrafish and mice. Results: SF3B1 was overexpressed in human PDAC and associated with tumor grade and lymph-node involvement. SF3B1 levels closely associated with distinct splicing event profiles and expression of key PDAC players (KRAS, TP53). In PDAC cells, Pladienolide-B increased apoptosis and decreased multiple tumor-related features, including cell proliferation, migration, and colony/sphere formation, altering AKT and JNK signaling, and favoring proapoptotic splicing variants (BCL-XS/BCL-XL, KRASa/KRAS, Δ133TP53/TP53). Importantly, Pladienolide-B similarly impaired CSCs, reducing their stemness capacity and increasing their sensitivity to chemotherapy. Pladienolide-B also reduced PDAC/CSCs xenograft tumor growth in vivo in zebrafish and in mice. Conclusion: SF3B1 overexpression represents a therapeutic vulnerability in PDAC, as altered splicing can be targeted with Pladienolide-B both in cancer cells and CSCs, paving the way for novel therapies for this lethal cancer.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1053186
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