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Suppression of Endothelial Cell FAK Expression Reduces Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Metastasis after Gemcitabine Treatment

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Despite substantial advances in the treatment of solid cancers, resistance to therapy remains a major obstacle to prolonged progression-free survival. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive cancers, with a high level of liver metastasis. Primary PDAC is highly hypoxic, and metastases are resistant to first-line treatment, including gemcitabine. Recent studies have indicated that endothelial cell (EC) focal adhesion kinase (FAK) regulates DNA-damaging therapy–induced angiocrine factors and chemosensitivity in primary tumor models.

Here, we show that inducible loss of EC-FAK in both orthotopic and spontaneous mouse models of PDAC is not sufficient to affect primary tumor growth but reduces liver and lung metastasis load and improves survival rates in gemcitabine-treated, but not untreated, mice. EC-FAK loss did not affect primary tumor angiogenesis, tumor blood vessel leakage, or early events in metastasis, including the numbers of circulating tumor cells, tumor cell homing, or metastatic seeding.  Read more . . . 


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