by Shi-He Liu, Donald D. Rao, John Nemunaitis, Neil Senzer, Guisheng Zhou, David Dawson, Marie-Claude Gingras, Zhaohui Wang, Richard Gibbs, Michael Norman, Nancy S. Templeton, Francesco J. DeMayo, Bert O'Malley, Robbi Sanchez, William E. Fisher, F. Charles Brunicardi
Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1) is a transcription factor that regulates insulin expression and islet maintenance in the adult pancreas. Our recent studies demonstrate that PDX-1 is an oncogene for pancreatic cancer and is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that PDX-1 is a therapeutic target for both hormonal symptoms and tumor volume in mouse models of pancreatic cancer, insulinoma and islet neoplasia. Immunohistochemistry of human pancreatic and islet neoplasia specimens revealed marked PDX-1 overexpression, suggesting PDX-1 as a “drugable” target within these diseases. To do so, a novel RNA interference effector platform, bifunctional shRNAPDX-1, was developed and studied in mouse and human cell lines as well as in mouse models of pancreatic cancer, insulinoma and islet neoplasia. Systemic delivery of bi-shRNAhumanPDX-1 lipoplexes resulted in marked reduction of tumor volume and improved survival in a human pancreatic cancer xenograft mouse model. bi-shRNAmousePDX-1 lipoplexes prevented death from hyperinsulinemia and hypoglycemia in an insulinoma mouse model. shRNAmousePDX-1 lipoplexes reversed hyperinsulinemia and hypoglycemia in an immune-competent mouse model of islet neoplasia. PDX-1 was overexpressed in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and nesidioblastosis. These data demonstrate that PDX-1 RNAi therapy controls hormonal symptoms and tumor volume in mouse models of pancreatic cancer, insulinoma and islet neoplasia, therefore, PDX-1 is a potential therapeutic target for these pancreatic diseases.