Mesmar F, Dai B, Ibrahim A, Hases L, Jafferali MH, Jose Augustine J, DiLorenzo S, Kang Y, Zhao Y, Wang J, Kim M, Lin C, Berkenstam A, Fleming J, Williams C
Cancer Med - (-) - [2019-09-30; online 2019-09-30]
Despite advances in cancer therapeutics, pancreatic cancer remains difficult to treat and often develops resistance to chemotherapies. We have evaluated a bioavailable genistein analogue, AXP107-11 which has completed phase Ib clinical trial, as an approach to sensitize tumor cells to chemotherapy. Using organotypic cultures of 14 patient-derived xenografts (PDX) of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, we found that addition of AXP107-11 indeed sensitized 57% of cases to gemcitabine treatment. Results were validated using PDX models in vivo. Further, RNA-Seq from responsive and unresponsive tumors proposed a 41-gene treatment-predictive signature. Functional and molecular assays were performed in cell lines and demonstrated that the effect was synergistic. Transcriptome analysis indicated activation of G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1) as the main underlying mechanism of action, which was corroborated using GPER1-selective agonists and antagonists. GPER1 expression in pancreatic tumors was indicative of survival, and our study proposes that activation of GPER1 may constitute a new avenue for pancreatic cancer therapeutics.