The overall goal of this P01 proposal is to define the mechanistic role of MUC16 in facilitating pancreatic cancer (PC) metastasis. It is well known pancreatic cancer is one of the lethal cancers and also a diffuse metastatic disease with approximately 45% to 55% of patients diagnosed after the cancer has spread. The molecular mechanisms of metastasis are poorly understood. In cancer cells depolarized mucin expression contributes to altered cell-cell adhesion, aberrant potentiation of growth factor receptor signaling, epithelial-to- mesenchymal transition, and drug resistance. In our recent study we have observed that MUC16/CA125 is a membrane bound mucin, and we have observed its aberrant overexpression during PC progression while no expression was observed in the normal pancreas. Similarly our collaborative study demonstrates that the prognosis of patients with MUC16 cytoplasmic expression was significantly poorer in pancreatic cancer patients. Based on these studies and our preliminary results our general hypothesis for the program project is that MUC16-Cter-mediated signaling, biological effects resulting from mutations of MUC16, and MUC16- induced metabolic reprograming contribute to PC metastasis. To test this hypothesis we are proposing three highly integrated projects investigating the mechanisms by which a multi-domain, muti-functional mucin MUC16 promotes metastasis. First project will focus on the role and mechanism(s) of MUC16 and its C- terminal domain in the metastatic progression of PC. Project 1 will be led by Batra, who has 26 years of experience in the field of pancreatic cancer and mucin biology. Second project will explore the roles of mutated forms of membrane bound and circulating MUC16 and its glycosylation in PC metastasis. This project will be led by Hollingsworth, who has 27 years of experience in the field of pancreatic cancer and mucin biology. Third project will focus on MUC16-mediated metabolic reprograming that induces PC metastasis. This project will be led by Singh, who has 14 years of experience in the field of pancreatic cancer biology. The projects are supported by two scientific cores to facilitate animal studies (Core B), evaluate therapeutic strategies and support clinical and animal tissue collection and analysis (Core C). Additionally, an Administrative and Bioinformatics Core (A) is proposed to integrate the different projects, cores and investigators, provide a coordinated management structure and bioinformatics and statistical data analysis. Overall this P01 program builds on the ongoing strengths in pancreatic cancer research that exist at UNMC and has resulted from a long and productive history of collaboration of participating investigators. We hope to define novel mechanisms of MUC16 mediated PC metastasis which will pave a way for better management of this lethal disease.

Public Health Relevance

The overall objective of this P01 program is to define the mechanistic role of MUC16 in facilitating pancreatic cancer metastasis. Specifically, the program aims to determine the molecular mechanisms by which MUC16- Cter mediated signaling and gene regulation, cancer-specific mutations in MUC16, and MUC16 induced alterations in cellular metabolism contribute to PC metastasis. The three projects and three cores are highly integrated to achieve the stated objectives and will provide a comprehensive understanding of MUC16-mediated molecular mechanism for PC metastasis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Ault, Grace S
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University of Nebraska Medical Center
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Nimmakayala, Rama Krishna; Batra, Surinder K; Ponnusamy, Moorthy P (2018) Unraveling the journey of cancer stem cells from origin to metastasis. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer 1871:50-63
Aithal, Abhijit; Rauth, Sanchita; Kshirsagar, Prakash et al. (2018) MUC16 as a novel target for cancer therapy. Expert Opin Ther Targets 22:675-686
Carmicheal, Joseph; Kaur, Sukhwinder; Batra, Surinder K et al. (2018) Hunting for transcription factors: STAT3 decoy in non-small cell lung cancer. Transl Lung Cancer Res 7:S254-S257
Barkeer, Srikanth; Chugh, Seema; Batra, Surinder K et al. (2018) Glycosylation of Cancer Stem Cells: Function in Stemness, Tumorigenesis, and Metastasis. Neoplasia 20:813-825
Barkeer, Srikanth; Chugh, Seema; Karmakar, Saswati et al. (2018) Novel role of O-glycosyltransferases GALNT3 and B3GNT3 in the self-renewal of pancreatic cancer stem cells. BMC Cancer 18:1157
Chugh, Seema; Barkeer, Srikanth; Rachagani, Satyanarayana et al. (2018) Disruption of C1galt1 Gene Promotes Development and Metastasis of Pancreatic Adenocarcinomas in Mice. Gastroenterology 155:1608-1624