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Phospho-Aspirin (MDC-22) inhibits pancreatic cancer growth in patient-derived tumor xenografts and KPC mice by targeting EGFR: Enhanced efficacy in combination with irinotecan


Novel therapeutic strategies are needed in the fight against pancreatic cancer. We have previously documented the chemopreventive effect of MDC-22 in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer. In the present work, we examined the therapeutic effects of MDC-22 in patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDTXs) and in LSL-KrasG12D/+, LSL-Trp53R172H/+, Pdx1-Cre (KPC) genetically engineered mice, two complementary and clinically relevant animal models of pancreatic cancer. In addition, we evaluated whether MDC-22 could synergize with current chemotherapeutic drugs used in the clinic. MDC-22 reduced the growth of various human pancreatic cancer cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner. In vivo, MDC-22 strongly reduced patient-derived pancreatic tumor xenograft growth by 50%, and extended survival of LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-Trp53R172H/+; Pdx1-Cre (KPC) mice by over a month (5.3 months versus 7.0 months). In both models, MDC-22 inhibited EGFR activation and its downstream signals, including ERK and FAK phosphorylation. In human pancreatic cancer cell lines, MDC-22 enhanced the growth inhibitory effect of irinotecan, and to a lesser degree those of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel. Normal human pancreatic epithelial cells were more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of, both, MDC-22 alone or in combination with irinotecan, indicating selectivity. Furthermore, MDC-22 enhanced irinotecan's effect on cell migration, in part, by inhibiting EGFR/FAK signaling. Collectively, our results indicate that MDC-22 is an effective anticancer drug in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer, and suggest that MDC-22 plus irinotecan as drug combination strategy for pancreatic cancer treatment, which warrants further evaluation.

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