BACKGROUND Recent evidences have shown a relationship between prion protein (PrPc) expression and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Indeed, PrPc could be one of the markers explaining the aggressiveness of this tumor. However, studies investigating the specific compartmentalization of increased PrPc expression within PDAC cells are lacking, as well as a correlation between ultrastructural evidence, ultrastructural morphometry of PrPc protein and clinical data. These data, as well as the quantitative stoichiometry of this protein detected by immuno-gold, provide a significant advancement in understanding the biology of disease and the outcome of surgical resection. AIM To analyze quantitative stoichiometry and compartmentalization of PrPc in PDAC cells and to correlate its presence with prognostic data METHODS Between June 2018 and December 2020, samples from pancreatic tissues of 45 patients treated with pancreatic resection for a preoperative suspicion of PDAC at our Institution were collected. When the frozen section excluded a PDAC diagnosis, or the nodules were too small for adequate sampling, patients were ruled out from the present study. Western blotting was used to detect, quantify and compare the expression of PrPc in PDAC and control tissues, such as those of non-affected neighboring pancreatic tissue of the same patient. To quantify the increase of PrPc and to detect the subcellular compartmentalization of PrPc within PDAC cells, immuno-gold stoichiometry within specific cell compartments was analyzed with electron microscopy. Finally, an analysis of quantitative PrPc expression according to prognostic data, such as cancer stage, recurrence of the disease at 12 mo after surgery and recurrence during adjuvant chemotherapy was made. RESULTS The amount of PrPc within specimen from 38 out of 45 patients was determined by semi-quantitative analysis by using Western blotting, which indicates that PrPc increases almost three-fold in tumor pancreatic tissue compared with healthy pancreatic regions [242.41 ± 28.36 optical density (OD) vs 95 ± 17.40 OD, P < 0.0001]. Quantitative morphometry carried out by using immuno-gold detection at transmission electron microscopy confirms an increased PrPc expression in PDAC ductal cells of all patients and allows to detect a specific compartmentalization of PrPc within tumor cells. In particular, the number of immuno-gold particles of PrPc was significantly higher in PDAC cells respect to controls, when considering the whole cell (19.8 ± 0.79 particles vs 9.44 ± 0.45, P < 0.0001). Remarkably, considering PDAC cells, the increase of PrPc was higher in the nucleus than cytosol of tumor cells, which indicates a shift in PrPc compartmentalization within tumor cells. In fact, the increase of immuno-gold within nuclear compartment exceeds at large the augment of PrPc which was detected in the cytosol (nucleus: 12.88 ± 0.59 particles vs 5.12 ± 0.32, P < 0.0001; cytosol: 7.74. ± 0.44 particles vs 4.3 ± 0.24, P < 0.0001). RESULTS In order to analyze the prognostic impact of PrPc, we found a correlation between PrPc expression and cancer stage according to pathology results, with a significantly higher expression of PrPc for advanced stages. Moreover, 24 patients with a mean follow-up of 16.8 mo were considered. Immuno-blot analysis revealed a significantly higher expression of PrPc in patients with disease recurrence at 12 mo after radical surgery (360.71 ± 69.01 OD vs 170.23 ± 23.06 OD, P = 0.023), also in the subgroup of patients treated with adjuvant CT (368.36 ± 79.26 OD in the recurrence group vs 162.86 ± 24.16 OD, P = 0.028), which indicates a correlation with a higher chemo-resistance. CONCLUSION Expression of PrPc is significantly higher in PDAC cells compared with control, with the protein mainly placed in the nucleus. Preliminary clinical data confirm the correlation with a poorer prognosis.

Detailing the ultrastructure’s increase of prion protein in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Bianchini M.;Giambelluca M. A.;Scavuzzo M. C.;Di Franco G.;Guadagni S.;Palmeri M.;Furbetta N.;Gianardi D.;Funel N.;Ricci C.;Gaeta R.;Falcone A.;Vivaldi C.;Di Candio G.;Morelli L.;Fornai F.
2021-01-01

Abstract

BACKGROUND Recent evidences have shown a relationship between prion protein (PrPc) expression and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Indeed, PrPc could be one of the markers explaining the aggressiveness of this tumor. However, studies investigating the specific compartmentalization of increased PrPc expression within PDAC cells are lacking, as well as a correlation between ultrastructural evidence, ultrastructural morphometry of PrPc protein and clinical data. These data, as well as the quantitative stoichiometry of this protein detected by immuno-gold, provide a significant advancement in understanding the biology of disease and the outcome of surgical resection. AIM To analyze quantitative stoichiometry and compartmentalization of PrPc in PDAC cells and to correlate its presence with prognostic data METHODS Between June 2018 and December 2020, samples from pancreatic tissues of 45 patients treated with pancreatic resection for a preoperative suspicion of PDAC at our Institution were collected. When the frozen section excluded a PDAC diagnosis, or the nodules were too small for adequate sampling, patients were ruled out from the present study. Western blotting was used to detect, quantify and compare the expression of PrPc in PDAC and control tissues, such as those of non-affected neighboring pancreatic tissue of the same patient. To quantify the increase of PrPc and to detect the subcellular compartmentalization of PrPc within PDAC cells, immuno-gold stoichiometry within specific cell compartments was analyzed with electron microscopy. Finally, an analysis of quantitative PrPc expression according to prognostic data, such as cancer stage, recurrence of the disease at 12 mo after surgery and recurrence during adjuvant chemotherapy was made. RESULTS The amount of PrPc within specimen from 38 out of 45 patients was determined by semi-quantitative analysis by using Western blotting, which indicates that PrPc increases almost three-fold in tumor pancreatic tissue compared with healthy pancreatic regions [242.41 ± 28.36 optical density (OD) vs 95 ± 17.40 OD, P < 0.0001]. Quantitative morphometry carried out by using immuno-gold detection at transmission electron microscopy confirms an increased PrPc expression in PDAC ductal cells of all patients and allows to detect a specific compartmentalization of PrPc within tumor cells. In particular, the number of immuno-gold particles of PrPc was significantly higher in PDAC cells respect to controls, when considering the whole cell (19.8 ± 0.79 particles vs 9.44 ± 0.45, P < 0.0001). Remarkably, considering PDAC cells, the increase of PrPc was higher in the nucleus than cytosol of tumor cells, which indicates a shift in PrPc compartmentalization within tumor cells. In fact, the increase of immuno-gold within nuclear compartment exceeds at large the augment of PrPc which was detected in the cytosol (nucleus: 12.88 ± 0.59 particles vs 5.12 ± 0.32, P < 0.0001; cytosol: 7.74. ± 0.44 particles vs 4.3 ± 0.24, P < 0.0001). RESULTS In order to analyze the prognostic impact of PrPc, we found a correlation between PrPc expression and cancer stage according to pathology results, with a significantly higher expression of PrPc for advanced stages. Moreover, 24 patients with a mean follow-up of 16.8 mo were considered. Immuno-blot analysis revealed a significantly higher expression of PrPc in patients with disease recurrence at 12 mo after radical surgery (360.71 ± 69.01 OD vs 170.23 ± 23.06 OD, P = 0.023), also in the subgroup of patients treated with adjuvant CT (368.36 ± 79.26 OD in the recurrence group vs 162.86 ± 24.16 OD, P = 0.028), which indicates a correlation with a higher chemo-resistance. CONCLUSION Expression of PrPc is significantly higher in PDAC cells compared with control, with the protein mainly placed in the nucleus. Preliminary clinical data confirm the correlation with a poorer prognosis.
Bianchini, M.; Giambelluca, M. A.; Scavuzzo, M. C.; Di Franco, G.; Guadagni, S.; Palmeri, M.; Furbetta, N.; Gianardi, D.; Funel, N.; Ricci, C.; Gaeta, R.; Pollina, L. E.; Falcone, A.; Vivaldi, C.; Di Candio, G.; Biagioni, F.; Busceti, C. L.; Morelli, L.; Fornai, F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1113516
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