The microtubule-associated protein MAPRE2 is involved in perineural invasion of pancreatic cancer cells

Ivane Abiatari, Sonja Gillen, Tiago DeOliveira, Theresa Klose, Kong Bo, Nathalia A. Giese, Helmut Friess, Jörg Kleeff

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28 Scopus citations


Perineural invasion of tumor cells is a characteristic feature of human pancreatic cancer. Unrevealing the molecular mechanisms that enable cancer cells to invade and grow along nerves is important for the development of novel therapeutic strategies in this disease. We have previously identified transcriptional changes in highly nerve invasive pancreatic cancer cells. Here we further analyzed one of the identified deregulated genes, MAPRE2, a microtubule-associated protein. MAPRE2 expression was significantly increased in high versus less nerve invasive pancreatic cancer cells, and changes of MAPRE2 expression resulted in altered actin distribution in these cells. MAPRE2 was predominately expressed in normal pancreatic acinar cells but absent in ductal cells. In pancreatic cancer, there was strong cytoplasmic and occasionally nuclear expression of MAPRE2 in the cancer cells themselves. Increased MAPRE2 mRNA levels in bulk pancreatic cancer tissues tended to be associated with reduced postoperative survival of pancreatic cancer patients. In conclusion, MAPRE2 is highly expressed in pancreatic cancer cells, and seems to be involved in perineural invasion. Therefore, targeting this microtubule-associated protein might be a promising approach in the therapy of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1116
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Invasion
  • Microtubule
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Perineural


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