The impact of SMAD4 loss on outcome in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer treated with systemic chemotherapy

Steffen Ormanns, Michael Haas, Anna Remold, Stephan Kruger, Stefan Holdenrieder, Thomas Kirchner, Volker Heinemann, Stefan Boeck

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20 Scopus citations


The role of the tumor suppressor mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 4 (SMAD4) has not yet been defined in patients (pts) with advanced pancreatic cancer (aPC). This translational research study was designed to evaluate the impact of tumoral SMAD4 loss on clinicopathological parameters and outcome in PC patients receiving palliative chemotherapy. Using immunohistochemistry, we examined SMAD4 expression in tumor tissue of 143 aPC pts treated within completed prospective clinical and biomarker trials. In uni- and multivariate analyses, SMAD4 expression status was correlated to clinicopathological patient characteristics and outcome. At chemotherapy initiation, 128 pts had metastatic PC; most pts (n = 99) received a gemcitabine-based regimen. SMAD4 loss was detected in 92 pts (64%); patient characteristics such as gender, age, tumor grading, disease stage or number of metastatic sites had no significant impact on tumoral SMAD4 status. In univariate analyses, SMAD4 loss had no impact on overall survival (hazard ratio (HR) 1.008, p = 0.656); however, we observed a prolonged progression-free survival (HR 1.565, p = 0.038) in pts with tumoral SMAD4 loss. This finding was confirmed in multivariate analyses (HR 1.790, p = 0.040), but only for gemcitabine-treated pts. In contrast to previous studies in resectable PC, loss of SMAD4 expression was not associated with a negative outcome in patients with advanced PC receiving systemic chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1094
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 19 May 2017


  • Advanced pancreatic cancer
  • DPC4
  • SMAD4


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