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      A glycosyltransferase gene signature to detect pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients with poor prognosis


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          Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by an important heterogeneity, reflected by different clinical outcomes and chemoresistance. During carcinogenesis, tumor cells display aberrant glycosylated structures, synthetized by deregulated glycosyltransferases, supporting the tumor progression. In this study, we aimed to determine whether PDAC could be stratified through their glycosyltransferase expression profiles better than the current binary classification (basal-like and classical) in order to improve detection of patients with poor prognosis.


          Bioinformatic analysis of 169 glycosyltransferase RNA sequencing data were performed for 74 patient-derived xenografts (PDX) of resected and unresectable tumors. The Australian cohort of International Cancer Genome Consortium and the microarray dataset from Puleo patient's cohort were used as independent validation datasets.


          New PDAC stratification based on glycosyltransferase expression profile allowed to distinguish different groups of patients with distinct clinical outcome ( p- value = 0.007). A combination of 19 glycosyltransferases differentially expressed in PDX defined a glyco-signature, whose prognostic value was validated on datasets including resected whole tumor tissues. The glyco-signature was able to discriminate three clusters of PDAC patients on the validation cohorts, two clusters displaying a short overall survival compared to one cluster having a better prognosis. Both poor prognostic clusters having different glyco-profiles in Puleo patient's cohort were correlated with stroma activated or desmoplastic subtypes corresponding to distinct microenvironment features ( p- value < 0.0001). Besides, differential expression and enrichment analyses revealed deregulated functional pathways specific to different clusters.


          This study identifies a glyco-signature relevant for a prognostic use, potentially applicable to resected and unresectable PDAC. Furthermore, it provides new potential therapeutic targets.


          This work was supported by INCa (Grants number 2018-078 and 2018-079), Fondation ARC (Grant number ARCPJA32020070002326), Cancéropôle PACA, DGOS (labelization SIRIC, Grant number 6038), Amidex Foundation and Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer and by institutional fundings from INSERM and the Aix-Marseille Université.

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          Most cited references58

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          Global Cancer Statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries

          This article provides a status report on the global burden of cancer worldwide using the GLOBOCAN 2018 estimates of cancer incidence and mortality produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, with a focus on geographic variability across 20 world regions. There will be an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases (17.0 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) and 9.6 million cancer deaths (9.5 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) in 2018. In both sexes combined, lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (11.6% of the total cases) and the leading cause of cancer death (18.4% of the total cancer deaths), closely followed by female breast cancer (11.6%), prostate cancer (7.1%), and colorectal cancer (6.1%) for incidence and colorectal cancer (9.2%), stomach cancer (8.2%), and liver cancer (8.2%) for mortality. Lung cancer is the most frequent cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among males, followed by prostate and colorectal cancer (for incidence) and liver and stomach cancer (for mortality). Among females, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death, followed by colorectal and lung cancer (for incidence), and vice versa (for mortality); cervical cancer ranks fourth for both incidence and mortality. The most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death, however, substantially vary across countries and within each country depending on the degree of economic development and associated social and life style factors. It is noteworthy that high-quality cancer registry data, the basis for planning and implementing evidence-based cancer control programs, are not available in most low- and middle-income countries. The Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development is an international partnership that supports better estimation, as well as the collection and use of local data, to prioritize and evaluate national cancer control efforts. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2018;0:1-31. © 2018 American Cancer Society.
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            Projecting cancer incidence and deaths to 2030: the unexpected burden of thyroid, liver, and pancreas cancers in the United States.

            Cancer incidence and deaths in the United States were projected for the most common cancer types for the years 2020 and 2030 based on changing demographics and the average annual percentage changes in incidence and death rates. Breast, prostate, and lung cancers will remain the top cancer diagnoses throughout this time, but thyroid cancer will replace colorectal cancer as the fourth leading cancer diagnosis by 2030, and melanoma and uterine cancer will become the fifth and sixth most common cancers, respectively. Lung cancer is projected to remain the top cancer killer throughout this time period. However, pancreas and liver cancers are projected to surpass breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers to become the second and third leading causes of cancer-related death by 2030, respectively. Advances in screening, prevention, and treatment can change cancer incidence and/or death rates, but it will require a concerted effort by the research and healthcare communities now to effect a substantial change for the future. ©2014 American Association for Cancer Research.
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              Genomic analyses identify molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer.

              Integrated genomic analysis of 456 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas identified 32 recurrently mutated genes that aggregate into 10 pathways: KRAS, TGF-β, WNT, NOTCH, ROBO/SLIT signalling, G1/S transition, SWI-SNF, chromatin modification, DNA repair and RNA processing. Expression analysis defined 4 subtypes: (1) squamous; (2) pancreatic progenitor; (3) immunogenic; and (4) aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine (ADEX) that correlate with histopathological characteristics. Squamous tumours are enriched for TP53 and KDM6A mutations, upregulation of the TP63∆N transcriptional network, hypermethylation of pancreatic endodermal cell-fate determining genes and have a poor prognosis. Pancreatic progenitor tumours preferentially express genes involved in early pancreatic development (FOXA2/3, PDX1 and MNX1). ADEX tumours displayed upregulation of genes that regulate networks involved in KRAS activation, exocrine (NR5A2 and RBPJL), and endocrine differentiation (NEUROD1 and NKX2-2). Immunogenic tumours contained upregulated immune networks including pathways involved in acquired immune suppression. These data infer differences in the molecular evolution of pancreatic cancer subtypes and identify opportunities for therapeutic development.

                Author and article information

                20 August 2021
                September 2021
                20 August 2021
                : 71
                : 103541
                [a ]Cancer Research Center of Marseille, Aix Marseille University, CNRS, INSERM, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, CRCM, Marseille, France
                [b ]Department of Pathology, Beaujon Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Clichy, France
                [c ]Programme Cartes d'Identité des Tumeurs (CIT), Ligue Nationale Contre Le Cancer, Paris, France
                Author notes
                S2352-3964(21)00334-0 103541
                © 2021 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                : 26 November 2020
                : 26 July 2021
                : 29 July 2021
                Research Paper

                glyco-signature,glycosyltransferases,pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma,prognosis,tumor stratification,transcriptomics


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