Proton Pump Inhibitors Reduce Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Progression by Selectively Targeting H+, K+-ATPases in Pancreatic Cancer and Stellate Cells

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Pancreatic duct cells are equipped with acid/base transporters important for exocrine secretion. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells may utilize such transporters to acidify extracellular tumor microenvironment, creating a niche favoring cell proliferation, fibrosis and resistance to chemotherapy—all contributing to the notoriously bad prognosis of this disease. Here, we report that gastric and non-gastric H+, K+-ATPases (coded by ATP4A and ATP12A) are overexpressed in human and murine pancreatic cancer and that we can target them specifically with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and potassium-competitive acid blockers (P-CABs) in in vitro models of PDAC. Focusing on pantoprazole, we show that it significantly reduced human cancer cell proliferation by inhibiting cellular H+ extrusion, increasing K+ conductance and promoting cyclin D1-dependent cell cycle arrest and preventing STAT3 activation. Pantoprazole also decreased collagen secretion from pancreatic stellate cells. Importantly, in vivo studies show that pantoprazole treatment of tumor-bearing mice reduced tumor size, fibrosis and expression of angiogenic markers. This work provides the first evidence that H+, K+-ATPases contribute to PDAC progression and that these can be targeted by inhibitors of these pumps, thus proving a promising therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number640
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Cyclin D1, Fibrosis, K channels, P-CAB, Pancreatic cancer, Pancreatic stellate cells, Pantoprazole, PDAC, PH regulation, STAT3

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