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ROCK signaling promotes collagen remodeling to facilitate invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumor cell growth


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a major cause of cancer death; identifying PDAC enablers may reveal potential therapeutic targets. Expression of the actomyosin regulatory ROCK1 and ROCK2 kinases increased with tumor progression in human and mouse pancreatic tumors, while elevated ROCK1/ROCK2 expression in human patients, or conditional ROCK2 activation in a KrasG12D/p53R172H mouse PDAC model, was associated with reduced survival. Conditional ROCK1 or ROCK2 activation promoted invasive growth of mouse PDAC cells into three-dimensional collagen matrices by increasing matrix remodeling activities. RNA sequencing revealed a coordinated program of ROCK-induced genes that facilitate extracellular matrix remodeling, with greatest fold-changes for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) Mmp10 and Mmp13 MMP inhibition not only decreased collagen degradation and invasion, but also reduced proliferation in three-dimensional contexts. Treatment of KrasG12D/p53R172H PDAC mice with a ROCK inhibitor prolonged survival, which was associated with increased tumor-associated collagen. These findings reveal an ancillary role for increased ROCK signaling in pancreatic cancer progression to promote extracellular matrix remodeling that facilitates proliferation and invasive tumor growth.

Type Journal
ISBN 1757-4684 (Electronic) 1757-4676 (Linking)
Authors Rath, N.; Morton, J. P.; Julian, L.; Helbig, L.; Kadir, S.; McGhee, E. J.; Anderson, K. I.; Kalna, G.; Mullin, M.; Pinho, A. V.; Rooman, I.; Samuel, M. S.; Olson, M. F.
Responsible Garvan Author (missing name)
Publisher Name EMBO Molecular Medicine
Published Date 2017-02-28
Published Volume 9
Published Issue 2
Published Pages 198-218
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.15252/emmm.201606743
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version