Oncogenic Kras-Mediated Cytokine CCL15 Regulates Pancreatic Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion through ROS

Justin K. Messex, Kiyah L.A. Adams, William G. Hawkins, David Denardo, Nabeel Bardeesy, Daniel D. Billadeau, Geou Yarh Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is well known for its high death rate due to prompt cancer metastasis caused by cancer cell migration and invasion within the early stages of its development. Here, we reveal a new function of cytokine CCL15, namely the upregulation of PDAC cell migration and invasion. We showed increased levels of CCL15 transcripts and protein expressions in human PDAC tissue samples, as well as in cultured cell lines. Furthermore, PDAC cells also expressed CCL15 receptors, including CCR1 and CCR3. Murine PDAC cell lines and tissues strengthened this finding. The manipulation of CCL15 in metastatic Panc-1 cells through CCL15 knockdown or CCL15 neutralization decreased Panc-1 cell motility and invasiveness. In addition, treating non-metastatic BxPC-3 cells with recombinant CCL15 accelerated the cell migration of BxPC-3. A reduction in the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by either N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine treatment or p22phox knockdown led to a decrease in Panc-1 cell migration and a reversed effect on recombinant CCL15-promoted BxPC-3 cell movement. Importantly, the knockdown of oncogenic Kras in Panc-1 cells abolished CCL15 protein expression and impeded cell migration without affecting PDAC cell growth. Altogether, our work elucidates an additional molecular pathway of oncogenic Kras to promote PDAC metastasis through the upregulation of cell migration and invasion by the Kras downstream CCL15, a lesser-known cytokine within the cancer research field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2153
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • CCL15
  • Kras
  • cell invasion
  • cell migration
  • metastasis
  • pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • reactive oxygen species


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