American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
Carcinoid Tumor and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Research
Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation
Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-Innovator
ARTICLE ABSTRACTMaster regulators of the unfolded protein response (UPR), IRE1α and PERK, promote adaptation or apoptosis depending on the level of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Although the UPR is activated in many cancers, its effects on tumor growth remain unclear. Derived from endocrine cells, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNET) universally hypersecrete one or more peptide hormones, likely sensitizing these cells to high ER protein-folding stress. To assess whether targeting the UPR is a viable therapeutic strategy, we analyzed human PanNET samples and found evidence of elevated ER stress and UPR activation. Genetic and pharmacologic modulation of IRE1α and PERK in cultured cells, xenograft, and spontaneous genetic (RIP-Tag2) mouse models of PanNETs revealed that UPR signaling was optimized for adaptation and that inhibiting either IRE1α or PERK led to hyperactivation and apoptotic signaling through the reciprocal arm, thereby halting tumor growth and survival. These results provide a strong rationale for therapeutically targeting the UPR in PanNETs and other cancers with elevated ER stress.
The UPR is upregulated in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and its inhibition significantly reduces tumor growth in preclinical models, providing strong rationale for targeting the UPR in these cancers.