Pancreatic cancer-derived exosomes cause paraneoplastic β-cell dysfunction

Naureen Javeed, Gunisha Sagar, Shamit K. Dutta, Thomas C. Smyrk, Julie S. Lau, Santanu Bhattacharya, Mark Truty, Gloria M. Petersen, Randal J. Kaufman, Suresh T. Chari, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Purpose: Pancreatic cancer frequently causes diabetes. We recently proposed adrenomedullin as a candidate mediator of pancreatic β-cell dysfunction in pancreatic cancer. How pancreatic cancer-derived adrenomedullin reaches β cells remote from the cancer to induce β-cell dysfunction is unknown. We tested a novel hypothesis that pancreatic cancer sheds adrenomedullin-containing exosomes into circulation, which are transported to β cells and impair insulin secretion. Experimental Methods: We characterized exosomes from conditioned media of pancreatic cancer cell lines (n = 5) and portal/peripheral venous blood of patients with pancreatic cancer (n = 20). Western blot analysis showed the presence of adrenomedullin in pancreatic cancer-exosomes. We determined the effect of adrenomedullin-containing pancreatic cancer exosomes on insulin secretion from INS-1 β cells and human islets, and demonstrated the mechanism of exosome internalization into β cells. We studied the interaction between β-cell adrenomedullin receptors and adrenomedullin present in pancreatic cancer-exosomes. In addition, the effect of adrenomedullin on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response genes and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species generation in βcells was shown. Results: Exosomes were found to be the predominant extracellular vesicles secreted by pancreatic cancer into culture media and patient plasma. Pancreatic cancer-exosomes contained adrenomedullin and CA19-9, readily entered β cells through caveolin-mediated endocytosis or macropinocytosis, and inhibited insulin secretion. Adrenomedullin in pancreatic cancer exosomes interacted with its receptor on β cells. Adrenomedullin receptor blockade abrogated the inhibitory effect of exosomes on insulin secretion. β cells exposed to adrenomedullin or pancreatic cancer exosomes showed upregulation of ER stress genes and increased reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. Conclusions: Pancreatic cancer causes paraneoplastic β-cell dysfunction by shedding adrenomedullin+/CA19-9+ exosomes into circulation that inhibit insulin secretion, likely through adrenomedullin-induced ER stress and failure of the unfolded protein response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1722-1733
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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