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Phospho-valproic acid (MDC-1112) reduces pancreatic cancer growth in patient-derived tumor xenografts and KPC mice: enhanced efficacy when combined with gemcitabine

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New chemotherapeutic agents are needed for pancreatic cancer (PC). We have previously shown that phospho-valproic acid (MDC-1112) is effective in cell-line xenografts of PC. Here, we explored whether MDC-1112 is effective in additional clinically relevant animal models of PC and whether MDC-1112 enhances the anticancer effect of clinically used chemotherapeutic agents. MDC-1112 alone strongly reduced patient-derived pancreatic tumor xenograft growth, and extended survival of LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-Trp53R172H/+; Pdx1-Cre (KPC) mice. In both models, MDC-1112 inhibited STAT3 activation and its downstream signals, including Bcl-xL and cyclin D1. In human PC cell lines, P-V enhanced the growth inhibitory effect of gemcitabine (GEM), Abraxane and 5-FU, but not that of irinotecan. Normal human pancreatic epithelial cells were more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of MDC-1112/GEM combination. Furthermore, MDC-1112 enhanced GEM's effect on colony formation, apoptosis, cell migration, and cell invasion. In vivo, MDC-1112 and GEM, given alone, reduced patient-derived pancreatic tumor xenograft growth by 58% and 87%, respectively; whereas MDC-1112/GEM combination reduced tumor growth by 94%, inducing tumor stasis. In conclusion, MDC-1112 should be further explored as a potential agent to be used in combination with GEM for treating PC.

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