RECK is downregulated in various human cancers; however, how RECK inactivation affects carcinogenesis remains unclear. We addressed this issue in a pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) mouse model and found that pancreatic Reck deletion dramatically augmented the spontaneous development of PDAC with a mesenchymal phenotype, which was accompanied by increased liver metastases and decreased survival. Lineage tracing revealed that pancreatic Reck deletion induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in PDAC cells, giving rise to inflammatory cancer-associated fibroblast–like cells in mice. Splenic transplantation of Reck-null PDAC cells resulted in numerous liver metastases with a mesenchymal phenotype, whereas reexpression of RECK markedly reduced metastases and changed the PDAC tumor phenotype into an epithelial one. Consistently, low RECK expression correlated with low E-cadherin expression, poor differentiation, metastasis, and poor prognosis in human PDAC. RECK reexpression in the PDAC cells was found to downregulate MMP2 and MMP3, with a concomitant increase in E-cadherin and decrease in EMT-promoting transcription factors. An MMP inhibitor recapitulated the effects of RECK on the expression of E-cadherin and EMT-promoting transcription factors and invasive activity. These results establish the authenticity of RECK as a pancreatic tumor suppressor, provide insights into its underlying mechanisms, and support the idea that RECK could be an important therapeutic effector against human PDAC.
Tomonori Masuda, Akihisa Fukuda, Go Yamakawa, Mayuki Omatsu, Mio Namikawa, Makoto Sono, Yuichi Fukunaga, Munemasa Nagao, Osamu Araki, Takaaki Yoshikawa, Satoshi Ogawa, Kenji Masuo, Norihiro Goto, Yukiko Hiramatsu, Yu Muta, Motoyuki Tsuda, Takahisa Maruno, Yuki Nakanishi, Toshihiko Masui, Etsuro Hatano, Tomoko Matsuzaki, Makoto Noda, Hiroshi Seno