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In the United States, pancreatic cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths. Although substantial efforts have been made to understand pancreatic cancer biology and improve therapeutic efficacy, patients still face a bleak chance of survival. A greater understanding of pancreatic cancer development and the identification of novel treatment targets are desperately needed. Our analysis of gene expression data from patient samples showed an increase in amyloid precursor-like protein 2 (APLP2) expression within primary tumor epithelium relative to pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) epithelial cells. Augmented expression of APLP2 in primary tumors compared to adjacent stroma was also observed. Genetically engineered mouse models of spontaneous pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma were used to investigate APLP2's role in cancer development. We found that APLP2 expression intensifies significantly during pancreatic cancer initiation and progression in the LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-Trp53R172H/+; Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mouse model, as shown by immunohistochemistry analysis. In studies utilizing pancreas-specific heterozygous and homozygous knockout of APLP2 in the KPC mouse model background, we observed significantly prolonged survival and reduced metastatic progression of pancreatic cancer. These results demonstrate the importance of APLP2 in pancreatic cancer initiation and metastasis and indicate that APLP2 should be considered a potential therapeutic target for this disease.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.