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Br J Cancer. 2017 Aug 22;117(5):639-647. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2017.216. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

HMGA1 expression levels are elevated in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia cells in the Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D transgenic mouse model of pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Miami University, 651 E. High St., Oxford, OH 45056, USA.



Pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and it is predicted to become the second by the year 2030. High-mobility group A1 protein (HMGA1) is an oncogenic transcription factor, localised and active in cell nuclei, that is linked to tumour progression in many human cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Overexpression of HMGA1 renders cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. Although the Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D transgenic mouse is perhaps the most widely utilised animal model for human pancreatic cancer, expression levels of HMGA1 in pancreata from this mouse model have not been characterised.


Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis was used to determine nuclear HMGA1 levels in pancreatic tissue sections from Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D mice aged 5, 11, and 15 months. The H Score method was used for quantitative analysis.


The HMGA1 levels were significantly elevated in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) epithelia compared with untransformed acinar tissues or fibroinflammatory stroma.


The PanINs have long been regarded as precancerous precursors to pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Significantly elevated HMGA1 levels observed in the nuclei of PanINs in Ptf1a-Cre; LSL-KrasG12D mice validate this animal model for investigating the role that HMGA1 plays in cancer progression and testing therapeutic approaches targeting HMGA1 in human cancers.

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