Seeking to assess the representation and instructive value of an engineered mouse model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNET) for its cognate human cancer, we profiled and compared mRNA and microRNA transcriptomes of tumors from both. Mouse PanNET tumors could be classified into two distinctive subtypes, well-differentiated islet/insulinoma tumors (IT) and poorly differentiated tumors associated with liver metastases, dubbed metastasis-like primary (MLP). Human PanNETs were independently classified into these same two subtypes, along with a third, specific gene mutation-enriched subtype. The MLP subtypes in human and mouse were similar to liver metastases in terms of microRNA and mRNA transcriptome profiles and signature genes. The human/mouse MLP subtypes also similarly expressed genes known to regulate early pancreas development, whereas the IT subtypes expressed genes characteristic of mature islet cells, suggesting different tumorigenesis pathways. Additionally, these subtypes exhibit distinct metabolic profiles marked by differential pyruvate metabolism, substantiating the significance of their separate identities.
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