Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a desmoplastic disease, is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world due, in large part, to locally invasive primary tumor growth and ensuing metastasis. SPARC is a matricellular protein that governs extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and maturation during tissue remodeling, particularly, during wound healing and tumorigenesis. In the present study, we sought to determine the mechanism by which lack of host SPARC alters the tumor microenvironment and enhances invasion and metastasis of an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer. We identified that levels of active TGFβ1 were increased significantly in tumors grown in SPARC-null mice. TGFβ1 contributes to many aspects of tumor development including metastasis, endothelial cell permeability, inflammation and fibrosis, all of which are altered in the absence of stromal-derived SPARC. Given these results, we performed a survival study to assess the contribution of increased TGFβ1 activity to tumor progression in SPARC-null mice using losartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist that diminishes TGFβ1 expression and activation in vivo. Tumors grown in SPARC-null mice progressed more quickly than those grown in wild-type littermates leading to a significant reduction in median survival. However, median survival of SPARC-null animals treated with losartan was extended to that of losartan-treated wild-type controls. In addition, losartan abrogated TGFβ induced gene expression, reduced local invasion and metastasis, decreased vascular permeability and altered the immune profile of tumors grown in SPARC-null mice. These data support the concept that aberrant TGFβ1-activation in the absence of host SPARC contributes significantly to tumor progression and suggests that SPARC, by controlling ECM deposition and maturation, can regulate TGFβ availability and activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)