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Am J Pathol. 2007 Jun;170(6):1964-74.

Enhanced expression of keratinocyte growth factor and its receptor correlates with venous invasion in pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Integrative Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan.


Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) and KGF receptor (KGFR) have been implicated in cancer growth as well as tissue development and repair. In this study, we examined whether KGF and KGFR have a role in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). KGFR mRNA was expressed in eight pancreatic cancer cell lines, whereas the KGF mRNA was detected in seven of the cell lines and was absent in MIA PaCa-2 cells. KGFR and KGF immunoreactivity were localized in the cancer cells in 41.5 and 34.0% of patients, respectively. There was a significant correlation between KGFR or KGF immunoreactivity and venous invasion and a significant correlation between the presence of both markers and venous invasion, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A expression, and poor prognosis. Exogenous KGF increased VEGF-A expression and release in MIA PaCa-2 cells, and PANC-1 cells stably transfected to overexpress KGF-exhibited increased VEGF-A expression. Moreover, short hairpin-KGFR transfection in MIA PaCa-2 cells reduced the stimulatory effect of exogenous KGF on VEGF-A expression. Short hairpin-KGF transfection in KLM-1 cells reduced VEGF-A expression in the cells. KGFR and KGF may act to promote venous invasion and tumor angiogenesis in PDAC, raising the possibility that they may serve as novel therapeutic targets in anti-angiogenic strategies in PDAC.

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