Canonical Wnt signaling is required for pancreatic carcinogenesis

Yaqing Zhang, John P. Morris IV, Wei Yan, Heather K. Schofield, Austin Gurney, Diane M. Simeone, Sarah E. Millar, Timothy Hoey, Matthias Hebrok, Marina Pasca Di Magliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Wnt ligand expression and activation of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway have been associated with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, but whether Wnt activity is required for the development of pancreatic cancer has remained unclear. Here, we report the results of three different approaches to inhibit the Wnt/b-catenin pathway in a established transgenicmouse model of pancreatic cancer. First, we found that b-catenin null cells were incapable of undergoing acinar to ductal metaplasia, a process associated with development of premalignant pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions. Second, we addressed the specific role of ligandmediated Wnt signaling through inducible expression of Dkk1, an endogenous secreted inhibitor of the canonical Wnt pathway. Finally, we targeted the Wnt pathway with OMP-18R5, a therapeutic antibody that interactswithmultiple Frizzled receptors. Together, these approaches showed that ligand-mediated activation of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway is required to initiate pancreatic cancer. Moreover, they establish that Wnt signaling is also critical for progression of pancreatic cancer, a finding with potential therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4909-4922
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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