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Gastroenterology. 2003 Jun;124(7):1830-45.

Down-regulation of the dual-specificity phosphatase MKP-1 suppresses tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells.

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Department of General Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 110, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.



In both pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis, there is enhanced expression of mitogenic growth factors and their tyrosine kinase receptors, which have the capacity to activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In view of the important role of MAPK kinase phosphatase (MKP)-1 in the regulation of MAPK activation, the expression and functional role of MKP-1 was analyzed.


Pancreatic tissues were analyzed by Northern blotting, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. Pancreatic cancer cells were transfected with a full-length MKP-1 antisense construct. Growth characteristics and tumorigenicity in vivo and the effects of mitogenic growth factors on cell growth and MAPK activation were determined in transfected and control cells.


MKP-1 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were increased in pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis (CP) tissues. Moderate to strong MKP-1 immunoreactivity was present in the cancer cells, ductal cells of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and in tubular complexes in CP. Down-regulation of MKP-1 resulted in decreased anchorage-dependent and -independent growth of pancreatic cancer cells, and decreased tumorigenicity in a nude mouse tumor model. MKP-1 down-regulation led to decreased proliferation and sustained MAPK activation in response to mitogens.


Suppression of MKP-1 expression reduces the tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells in vivo, suggesting that MKP-1 contributes to enhanced mitogenic signaling in pancreatic cancer cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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