Stromal architecture directs early dissemination in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Arja Ray, Mackenzie K. Callaway, Nelson J. Rodríguez-Merced, Alexandra L. Crampton, Marjorie Carlson, Kenneth B. Emme, Ethan A. Ensminger, Alexander A. Kinne, Jonathan H. Schrope, Haley R. Rasmussen, Hong Jiang, David G. DeNardo, David K. Wood, Paolo P. Provenzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an extremely metastatic and lethal disease. Here, in both murine and human PDA, we demonstrate that extracellular matrix architecture regulates cell extrusion and subsequent invasion from intact ductal structures through tumor-associated collagen signatures (TACS). This results in early dissemination from histologically premalignant lesions and continual invasion from well-differentiated disease, and it suggests TACS as a biomarker to aid in the pathologic assessment of early disease. Furthermore, we show that pancreatitis results in invasion-conducive architectures, thus priming the stroma prior to malignant disease. Analysis in potentially novel microfluidic-derived microtissues and in vivo demonstrates decreased extrusion and invasion following focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition, consistent with decreased metastasis. Thus, data suggest that targeting FAK or strategies to reengineer and normalize tumor microenvironments may have roles not only in very early disease, but also for limiting continued dissemination from unresectable disease. Likewise, it may be beneficial to employ stroma-targeting strategies to resolve precursor diseases such as pancreatitis in order to remove stromal architectures that increase risk for early dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere150330
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2022


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