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      Oncogenic KRAS signalling in pancreatic cancer

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          Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost universally fatal. The annual number of deaths equals the number of newly diagnosed cases, despite maximal treatment. The overall 5-year survival rate of <5% has remained stubbornly unchanged over the last 30 years, despite tremendous efforts in preclinical and clinical science. There is unquestionably an urgent need to further improve our understanding of pancreatic cancer biology, treatment response and relapse, and to identify novel therapeutic targets. Rigorous research in the field has uncovered genetic aberrations that occur during PDAC development and progression. In most cases, PDAC is initiated by oncogenic mutant KRAS, which has been shown to drive pancreatic neoplasia. However, all attempts to target KRAS directly have failed in the clinic and KRAS is widely assumed to be undruggable. This has led to intense efforts to identify druggable critical downstream targets and nodes orchestrated by mutationally activated KRAS. This includes context-specific KRAS effector pathways, synthetic lethal interaction partners and KRAS-driven metabolic changes. Here, we review recent advances in oncogenic KRAS signalling and discuss how these might benefit PDAC treatment in the future.

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            Oncogenic Kras Maintains Pancreatic Tumors through Regulation of Anabolic Glucose Metabolism

            Tumor maintenance relies on continued activity of driver oncogenes, although their rate-limiting role is highly context dependent. Oncogenic Kras mutation is the signature event in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), serving a critical role in tumor initiation. Here, an inducible Kras(G12D)-driven PDAC mouse model establishes that advanced PDAC remains strictly dependent on Kras(G12D) expression. Transcriptome and metabolomic analyses indicate that Kras(G12D) serves a vital role in controlling tumor metabolism through stimulation of glucose uptake and channeling of glucose intermediates into the hexosamine biosynthesis and pentose phosphate pathways (PPP). These studies also reveal that oncogenic Kras promotes ribose biogenesis. Unlike canonical models, we demonstrate that Kras(G12D) drives glycolysis intermediates into the nonoxidative PPP, thereby decoupling ribose biogenesis from NADP/NADPH-mediated redox control. Together, this work provides in vivo mechanistic insights into how oncogenic Kras promotes metabolic reprogramming in native tumors and illuminates potential metabolic targets that can be exploited for therapeutic benefit in PDAC. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Preinvasive and invasive ductal pancreatic cancer and its early detection in the mouse.

              To evaluate the role of oncogenic RAS mutations in pancreatic tumorigenesis, we directed endogenous expression of KRAS(G12D) to progenitor cells of the mouse pancreas. We find that physiological levels of Kras(G12D) induce ductal lesions that recapitulate the full spectrum of human pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs), putative precursors to invasive pancreatic cancer. The PanINs are highly proliferative, show evidence of histological progression, and activate signaling pathways normally quiescent in ductal epithelium, suggesting potential therapeutic and chemopreventive targets for the cognate human condition. At low frequency, these lesions also progress spontaneously to invasive and metastatic adenocarcinomas, establishing PanINs as definitive precursors to the invasive disease. Finally, mice with PanINs have an identifiable serum proteomic signature, suggesting a means of detecting the preinvasive state in patients.

                Author and article information

                Br J Cancer
                Br. J. Cancer
                British Journal of Cancer
                Nature Publishing Group
                26 August 2014
                22 April 2014
                26 August 2014
                : 111
                : 5
                : 817-822
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine II, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München , Ismaningerstr. 22, 81675 München, Germany
                [2 ]German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) , Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
                [3 ]Livestock Biotechnology, Technische Universität München , Liesel-Beckmann Str. 1., 85354 Freising, Germany
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2014 Cancer Research UK

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/



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