Smoking increases potential for metastatic pancreatic cancer

Jul 27, 2009

Smoking has once again been implicated in the development of advanced cancer. Exposure to nicotine by way of cigarette smoking may increase the likelihood that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma will become metastatic, according to researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Their study was published in the August edition of the journal Surgery.

The culprit behind the increased metastasis potential appears to be an isoform (variant type) of a protein called osteopontin, according to Hwyda Arafat, M.D. Ph.D., an associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary & Related Cancers Center.

promotes the expression osteopontin, and high levels of osteopontin have been reported in pancreatic ductal carcinoma (PDA). Dr. Arafat and her research team analyzed PDA samples and confirmed that the isoform, called OPNc, was also expressed on invasive PDA lesions. Previous studies have shown that OPNc is expressed in several invasive cancers, and supports metastatic behavior.

The researchers correlated OPNc expression with the patients' smoking history. OPNc expression was found on 87 percent of the invasive PDA lesions analyzed, of which 73 percent were from smokers. The OPNc expression also correlated with higher expression levels of osteopontin. Premalignant lesions expressed no OPNc.

"This is the first time a relationship between nicotine and OPNc expression has been identified," Dr. Arafat said. "These data are very exciting because now we can evaluate OPNc as a prognostic and diagnostic marker of invasive PDA lesions. "Because of the lower expression levels of OPNc in non-smokers, OPNc may be regulated by nicotine, which is another novel finding of this study. The exact role of OPNc in PDA remains to be defined, but it could provide a unique potential target to control pancreatic cancer aggressiveness, especially in people who smoke cigarettes."

is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the country, taking 34,000 lives a year. Only four percent of individuals with pancreatic live for five years after diagnosis.

Source: Thomas Jefferson University (news : web)

Explore further: Body Mass Index associated with breast cancer, regardless of body shape

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New discovery may help explain smoking-pancreatic cancer link

Apr 14, 2008

If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t bad enough, cigarette smokers are also at higher risk for developing, among other things, pancreatic cancer. Now, researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia ...

IDO2 an active enzyme to target in pancreatic cancer

Dec 01, 2008

An enzyme that is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells may hold the key to successfully treating the disease with targeted immunotherapy, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University reported at the 2008 Annual Meeting ...

Recommended for you

Survival hope for melanoma patients thanks to new vaccine

3 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability ...

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

7 hours ago

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Smoking's toll on mentally ill analyzed

Those in the United States with a mental illness diagnosis are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking than those without mental illness, regardless ...

Net neutrality balancing act

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...