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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20537. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020537. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Activated K-ras and INK4a/Arf deficiency cooperate during the development of pancreatic cancer by activation of Notch and NF-κB signaling pathways.

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Department of Pathology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, United States of America.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(6):e101032.



Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, suggesting that novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of PDAC are urgently needed. K-ras mutations are observed in >90% of pancreatic cancer, suggesting its role in the initiation and early developmental stages of PDAC. In order to gain mechanistic insight as to the role of mutated K-ras, several mouse models have been developed by targeting a conditionally mutated K-ras(G12D) for recapitulating PDAC. A significant co-operativity has been shown in tumor development and metastasis in a compound mouse model with activated K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency. However, the molecular mechanism(s) by which K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency contribute to PDAC has not been fully elucidated.


To assess the molecular mechanism(s) that are involved in the development of PDAC in the compound transgenic mice with activated K-ras and Ink4a/Arf deficiency, we used multiple methods, such as Real-time RT-PCR, western blotting assay, immunohistochemistry, MTT assay, invasion, EMSA and ELISA. We found that the deletion of Ink4a/Arf in K-ras(G12D) expressing mice leads to PDAC, which is in part mediated through the activation of Notch and NF-κB signaling pathways. Moreover, we found down-regulation of miR-200 family, which could also play important roles in tumor development and progression of PDAC in the compound transgenic mice.


Our results suggest that the activation of Notch and NF-κB together with the loss of miR-200 family is mechanistically linked with the development and progression of PDAC in the compound K-ras(G12D) and Ink4a/Arf deficient transgenic mice.

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