Mir34a constrains pancreatic carcinogenesis

Hidalgo-Sastre, A., Lubeseder-Martellato, C., Engleitner, T., Steiger, K., Zhong, S., Desztics, J., Ollinger, R., Rad, R., Schmid, R. M., Hermeking, H., Siveke, J. T., and von Figura, G. (2020). Sci Rep 10, 9654. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66561-1


Several studies have shown that over 70 different microRNAs are aberrantly expressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), affecting proliferation, apoptosis, metabolism, EMT and metastasis. The most important genetic alterations driving PDAC are a constitutive active mutation of the oncogene Kras and loss of function of the tumour suppressor Tp53 gene. Since the MicroRNA 34a (Mir34a) is a direct target of Tp53 it may critically contribute to the suppression of PDAC. Mir34a is epigenetically silenced in numerous cancers, including PDAC, where Mir34a down-regulation has been associated with poor patient prognosis. To determine whether Mir34a represents a suppressor of PDAC formation we generated an in vivo PDAC-mouse model harbouring pancreas-specific loss of Mir34a (KrasG12D; Mir34aΔ/Δ). Histological analysis of KrasG12D; Mir34aΔ/Δ mice revealed an accelerated formation of pre-neoplastic lesions and a faster PDAC development, compared to KrasG12D controls. Here we show that the accelerated phenotype is driven by an early up-regulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFA and IL6 in normal acinar cells and accompanied by the recruitment of immune cells. Our results imply that Mir34a restrains PDAC development by modulating the immune microenvironment of PDAC, thus defining Mir34a restauration as a potential therapeutic strategy for inhibition of PDAC development.