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Metformin Decreases the Incidence of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Promoted by Diet-induced Obesity in the Conditional KrasG12D Mouse Model.

  • Author(s): Chang, Hui-Hua;
  • Moro, Aune;
  • Chou, Caroline Ei Ne;
  • Dawson, David W;
  • French, Samuel;
  • Schmidt, Andrea I;
  • Sinnett-Smith, James;
  • Hao, Fang;
  • Hines, O Joe;
  • Eibl, Guido;
  • Rozengurt, Enrique
  • et al.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a particularly deadly disease. Chronic conditions, including obesity and type-2 diabetes are risk factors, thus making PDAC amenable to preventive strategies. We aimed to characterize the chemo-preventive effects of metformin, a widely used anti-diabetic drug, on PDAC development using the KrasG12D mouse model subjected to a diet high in fats and calories (HFCD). LSL-KrasG12D/+;p48-Cre (KC) mice were given control diet (CD), HFCD, or HFCD with 5 mg/ml metformin in drinking water for 3 or 9 months. After 3 months, metformin prevented HFCD-induced weight gain, hepatic steatosis, depletion of intact acini, formation of advanced PanIN lesions, and stimulation of ERK and mTORC1 in pancreas. In addition to reversing hepatic and pancreatic histopathology, metformin normalized HFCD-induced hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia among the 9-month cohort. Importantly, the HFCD-increased PDAC incidence was completely abrogated by metformin (p < 0.01). The obesogenic diet also induced a marked increase in the expression of TAZ in pancreas, an effect abrogated by metformin. In conclusion, administration of metformin improved the metabolic profile and eliminated the promoting effects of diet-induced obesity on PDAC formation in KC mice. Given the established safety profile of metformin, our findings have a strong translational potential for novel chemo-preventive strategies for PDAC.

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