MUC4 mucin expression in human pancreatic tumours is affected by organ environment: The possible role of TGFβ2

A. Choudhury, N. Moniaux, A. B. Ulrich, B. M. Schmied, J. Standop, P. M. Pour, S. J. Gendler, M. A. Hollingsworth, J. P. Aubert, S. K. Batra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


MUC4 is highly expressed in human pancreatic tumours and pancreatic tumour cell lines, but is minimally or not expressed in normal pancreas or chronic pancreatitis. Here, we investigated the aberrant regulation of MUC4 expression in vivo using clonal human pancreatic tumour cells (CD18/HPAF) grown either orthotopically in the pancreas (OT) or ectopically in subcutaneous tissue (SC) in the nude mice. Histological examination of the OT and SC tumours showed moderately differentiated and anaplastic morphology, respectively. The OT tumour cells showed metastases to distant lymph nodes and faster tumour growth (P < 0.01) compared to the SC tumours. The MUC4 transcripts in OT tumours were very high compared to the undetectable levels in SC tumours. The SC tumour cells regained their ability to express MUC4 transcripts after in vitro culture. Immunohistochemical analysis using MUC4-specific polyclonal antiserum confirmed the results obtained by Northern blot analysis. Interestingly, the OT tumours showed expression of TGFβ2 compared to no expression in SC, suggesting a possible link between MUC4 and TGFβ2. The MUC4 expression, morphology, and metastasis of human pancreatic tumour cells are regulated by a local host microenvironment. TGFβ2 may serve as an interim regulator of this function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 9 2004


  • MUC4
  • Mucin
  • Orthotopic environment
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
  • TGFβ2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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