Restoration of SMAD4 by gene therapy reverses the invasive phenotype in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells

Dan G. Duda, Makoto Sunamura, Liviu P. Lefter, Toru Furukawa, Tadaaki Yokoyama, Toshimasa Yatsuoka, Tadayoshi Abe, Hiroko Inoue, Fuyuhiko Motoi, Shin Ichi Egawa, Seiki Matsuno, Akira Horii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


SMAD4 is a critical cofactor in signal transduction pathways activated in response to transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)-related ligands, regulating cell growth and differentiation. The roles played by SMAD4 inactivation in tumours highlighted it as a tumour-suppressor gene. However, restoration of the TGF-β antiproliferative pathway following SMAD4 gene transfer in null-tumour cell lines is controversial. Herein, we report the inhibitory effects of SMAD4 on pancreatic tumour invasion and angiogenesis. Adenoviral transfer of this gene in a panel of SMAD4 homozygous-deleted human pancreatic tumour cell lines restored SMAD4 protein expression and function. Although it did not affect proliferation significantly in vitro, SMAD4 inhibited in vivo tumour growth in immunodefident mice. In this xenograft setting, differential suppression of tumour growth in vivo was mediated, at least in part, through downregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor and expression of gelatinases. We documented the reduced invasion and angiogenesis histologically and by intravital microscopy, and gained mechanistic insight at the messenger and protein level. Finally, we found a negative reciprocal regulation between SMAD4 and ETS-1. ETS-1 is considered a marker for tumour invasion. Upon SMAD4 deletion, we detected high expression levels of ETS-1 in pancreatic tumour cells, suggesting the shift of the pancreatic tumour toward an invasive phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6857-6864
Number of pages8
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Oct 9


  • Angiogenesis
  • ETS-1
  • Invasion
  • SMAD4
  • TGF-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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