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Stromal SLIT2 impacts on pancreatic cancer-associated neural remodeling

Abstract : Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a critical health issue in the field of cancer, with few therapeutic options. Evidence supports an implication of the intratumoral microenvironment (stroma) on PDA progression. However, its contribution to the role of neuroplastic changes within the pathophysiology and clinical course of PDA, through tumor recurrence and neuropathic pain, remains unknown, neglecting a putative, therapeutic window. Here, we report that the intratumoral microenvironment is a mediator of PDA-associated neural remodeling (PANR), and we highlight factors such as 'SLIT2' (an axon guidance molecule), which is expressed by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), that impact on neuroplastic changes in human PDA. We showed that 'CAF-secreted SLIT2' increases neurite outgrowth from dorsal root ganglia neurons as well as from Schwann cell migration/ proliferation by modulating N-cadherin/β-catenin signaling. Importantly, SLIT2/ROBO signaling inhibition disrupts this stromal/ neural connection. Finally, we revealed that SLIT2 expression and CAFs are correlated with neural remodeling within human and mouse PDA. All together, our data demonstrate the implication of CAFs, through the secretion of axon guidance molecule, in PANR. Furthermore, it provides rationale to investigate the disruption of the stromal/neural compartment connection with SLIT2/ROBO inhibitors for the treatment of pancreatic cancer recurrence and pain. Even after significant efforts from the scientific community in the past decade, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) remains one of the most lethal cancers with worrying predictions. 1 Median survival stagnates around 5 months, together with a 5-year survival at 5%. For 5–20% of patients treated surgically, the 5-year survival reaches 20%, with a median survival of 16 months. Metastasis onset and high prevalence of local tumor recurrence after potential curative resection influence patient's survival. A recent study revealed that the overall survival of patients with tumor recurrence was 9.3, versus 26.3 months for patients without early relapse. 2,3
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V Secq, J Leca, C Bressy, F Guillaumond, P Skrobuk, et al.. Stromal SLIT2 impacts on pancreatic cancer-associated neural remodeling. Cell Death and Disease, Nature Publishing Group, 2015, 6 (e1592), ⟨10.1038/cddis.2014.557⟩. ⟨hal-01234631⟩

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