We recently discovered a tumorigenic factor interactome connected through the tumor suppressor microRNA-198 in human pancreatic cancer (PC) patient samples and confirmed the tumor suppressive roles of miR-198 in PC animal models. We found that miR-198 is downregulated in PC and is involved in an intricate reciprocal regulatory loop with mesothelin (MSLN), which represses miR-198 through NF-kB-mediated homeobox transcription factor POU2F2 (OCT-2) induction. Furthermore, miR-198 repression leads to overexpression of pre-B-cell leukemia homeobox factor 1 (PBX-1) and valosin-containing protein (VCP). The dysregulated PBX-1/VCP axis leads to an increase in tumorigenicity. Reconstitution of miR-198 in PC cells results in reduced tumor growth, decreased metastasis, and increased survival through direct targeting of MSLN, PBX-1, and VCP. Our preliminary data strongly suggest the significant role of miR-198 and this interactome in PC pathogenesis. In addition, we found that miR-198 can sensitize PC cells for gemcitabine killing because miR-198 effectively downregulates VCP expression and inhibits autophagy maturation in PC cells. In this proposal, we hypothesize that miR-198 and this interactome could serve as a potential prognostic marker and the miR-198 replacement therapy could attack this tumorigenic network through a central vantage point and improve therapeutic efficacy in pre-clinical animal models.
Three specific aims are proposed: 1). Demonstrate the significant role of miR-198 and the tumorigenic factor interactome in human PC clinical prognosis in a large cohort of PC patient samples; 2). Design and characterize MSLN-specific targeted miR-198 nanoparticles for specifically delivering miR-198 to PC cells; and 3). Demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of MSLN-targeted miR-198 replacement in PC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models. The project will substantially contribute to PC research and will have an enormous impact on clinical practice for patients with PC.

Public Health Relevance

Current project is to identify a new miR-198 mediated interactome that predicts prognosis of patients with PC and to develop new strategies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer based on the multiple tumor suppression functions of miR-198. The project will substantially contribute to PC research and will positively impact clinical practie for patients with PC.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Developmental Therapeutics Study Section (DT)
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Alley, Michael C
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Baylor College of Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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