Role of Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
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Introduction: Polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) traffics Immunoglobulins (IgA and IgM) through epithelial cells in normal mucosae but neither are expressed in the normal pancreas. Recent work has demonstrated pIgR to be upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma, even though it is not expressed in normal liver cells. High pIgR levels are associated with poor survival and distant metastases for a number of cancers such as nasopharyngeal cancers, lung and oesophageal cancers. Recent work from our laboratory suggested pIgR may be upregulated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). My aim was to assess pIgR’s role in PDAC by interrogating human PDAC tissue samples as well using cell biology experimental tools. Methods: pIgR expression was manipulated (siRNA and shRNA) in cell lines to evaluate its subsequent effect on cell behaviour in 2D assays as well as 3D organotypics models. Tissue Microarrays of patients with PDAC were analysed after pIgR, αSMA, E-Cadherin and Picrosirius Red staining to assess their role as a combined bio-marker panel. Results: Cytokines such as interleukin 4 (IL4) and Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNFα) could not modulate pIgR expression in PDAC cell lines despite this effect being seen in other studies using colorectal and nasopharyngeal cancer cell lines. Downregulation in pIgR expression in Capan1 cell line resulted in reduction of cellular proliferation (n= 3, P<0.05, Friedman test), adhesion (n= 3, P<0.05, Kruskal-Wallis) and migration (n= 3, P<0.05, Kruskal-Wallis). In 3D organotypic models, pIgR downregulation resulted in reduced cancer cell invasion (n= 9, P<0.05, Kruskal- Wallis) and diminished contraction of gels (n= 9, P<0.05, Kruskal-Wallis). In human PDAC, decreased E-cadherin expression correlates with increased pIgR expression through pancreatic intra-epithelial neoplasia (PanIN) progression. There was no IgA expression in PDAC. pIgR expression had no clinical correlation with routine prognostic measures such as differentiation, lymph node metastasis (n= 88, P=0.5012, Kruskal-Wallis). Even in combination with stromal indices (α-smooth muscle action (SMA) and Picrosirius red), low pIgR scores had no statistically significant impact on prognosis but had a trend towards better survival (n= 88, P=0.2791, Mann-Whitney U test). Conclusion: pIgR may be involved in progression from pre-neoplastic lesions such as PanIN to PDAC. pIgR may have a biological impact on cellular motility and invasion due to yet to be deciphered signalling cascades with marked effect on cellular phenotype. Careful analysis is required to study the impact of pIgR on prognostic impact bearing in mind the histological sub-types of pancreatic cancer.
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