An important scientific article was published today that describes a novel strategy to predict the likelihood that a patient’s pancreatic tumor will metastasize, or spread to other organs. Entitled “RUNX3 Controls a Metastatic Switch in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma,” the article appears in the prestigious biomedical journal Cell. The research was conducted primarily in the laboratory of two-time Pancreatic Cancer Action Network research grant recipient and Scientific and Medical Advisory Board member Sunil Hingorani, MD, PhD, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Coauthors include research grant recipient Michael Goggins, MD, and Emeritus Scientific and Medical Advisory Board member Ralph Hruban, MD.

Dr. Hingorani and his research team utilized sophisticated mouse models of pancreatic cancer to determine that a particular molecular profile, or clues detectable in cancer cells, could predict whether a tumor was more likely to grow rapidly within the pancreas, spread to other organs or, in the most aggressive cases, both. This type of information could be utilized for personalized medicine approaches, like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Know Your Tumor service. The type and timing of treatment approaches could be tailored based on the tumor’s capacity to grow locally within the pancreas or undergo metastatic spread.

It is important to note that the findings published in this article are preliminary and that the experiments were conducted in mice rather than patients. Subsequent research will be necessary to determine the relevance of these genetic changes in human disease.

For more information about this article, please see the press release issued by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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