Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 393, Issue 6, pp 891–900

Pancreatic stellate cells—role in pancreas cancer

  • Max G. Bachem
  • Shaoxia Zhou
  • Karin Buck
  • Wilhelm Schneiderhan
  • Marco Siech
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-008-0279-5

Cite this article as:
Bachem, M.G., Zhou, S., Buck, K. et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2008) 393: 891. doi:10.1007/s00423-008-0279-5

Abstract

Background

Adenocarcinomas of the pancreas are characterized by a rapid progression, an early metastasis, a limited response to chemo- and radiotherapy, and an intense fibrotic reaction known as tumor desmoplasia. Carcinoma cells are surrounded by a dense stroma consisting of myofibroblast-like cells, collagens, and fibronectin.

Materials and methods

This review describes the interaction of activated pancreatic stellate cells (myofibroblast-like cells) with tumor cells in pancreas adenocarcinomas. Our data were obtained in cell culture experiments and in in vivo investigations.

Results

Carcinoma cells produce soluble mediators and stimulate motility, proliferation, matrix-, and MMP synthesis of stellate cells. Vice versa-activated stellate cells release mitogens, stimulating proliferation of cancer cells. Cancer cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis might further be induced by the microenvironment (extracellular matrix), which is primarily provided by stellate cells. A very important aspect in the interaction of stellate cells with cancer cells is the expression of EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer) by cancer cells, the shedding of the extracellular part of EMMPRIN by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and the induction of MMPs in stellate cells by soluble EMMPRIN. In particular, the stellate cells in close proximity to tumor cells therefore express MMPs and degrade connective tissue.

Conclusion

Through complex interactions between stellate cells and carcinoma cells, tumor progression and cancer cell invasion are accelerated. As we gain better understanding of these mechanisms, adequate therapies to reduce tumor cell invasion and cancer progression might be developed.

Keywords

Pancreas carcinomaPancreatic stellate cellCollagenEMMPRINCell motility

Abbreviations

DMEM

Dulbecco’s modification of Eagle’s medium

ECM

extracellular matrix

FAK

focal adhesion kinase

FCS

fetal calf serum

FN

fibronectin

PDAC

pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma

PDGF

platelet-derived growth factor

PSC

pancreatic stellate cells

SMA

α-smooth muscle actin

SN

culture supernatant

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max G. Bachem
    • 1
    • 3
  • Shaoxia Zhou
    • 1
  • Karin Buck
    • 1
  • Wilhelm Schneiderhan
    • 1
  • Marco Siech
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Clinical Chemistry and Central LaboratoryUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryOstalbklinikum AalenAalenGermany
  3. 3.ZE Klinische ChemieUniversität Ulm-KlinikumUlmGermany