Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Epigenetic priming targets tumor heterogeneity to shift transcriptomic phenotype of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma towards a Vitamin D susceptible state. Cell death & disease He, B., Stoffel, L., He, C. J., Cho, K., Li, A. M., Jiang, H., Flowers, B. M., Nguyen, K. T., Wang, K. W., Zhao, A. Y., Zhou, M. N., Ferreira, S., Attardi, L. D., Ye, J. 2024; 15 (1): 89


    As a highly heterogeneous tumor, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) exhibits non-uniform responses to therapies across subtypes. Overcoming therapeutic resistance stemming from this heterogeneity remains a significant challenge. Here, we report that Vitamin D-resistant PDAC cells hijacked Vitamin D signaling to promote tumor progression, whereas epigenetic priming with glyceryl triacetate (GTA) and 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza) overcame Vitamin D resistance and shifted the transcriptomic phenotype of PDAC toward a Vitamin D-susceptible state. Increasing overall H3K27 acetylation with GTA and reducing overall DNA methylation with 5-Aza not only elevated the Vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression but also reprogrammed the Vitamin D-responsive genes. Consequently, Vitamin D inhibited cell viability and migration in the epigenetically primed PDAC cells by activating genes involved in apoptosis as well as genes involved in negative regulation of cell proliferation and migration, while the opposite effect of Vitamin D was observed in unprimed cells. Studies in genetically engineered mouse PDAC cells further validated the effects of epigenetic priming for enhancing the anti-tumor activity of Vitamin D. Using gain- and loss-of-function experiments, we further demonstrated that VDR expression was necessary but not sufficient for activating the favorable transcriptomic phenotype in respond to Vitamin D treatment in PDAC, highlighting that both the VDR and Vitamin D-responsive genes were prerequisites for Vitamin D response. These data reveal a previously undefined mechanism in which epigenetic state orchestrates the expression of both VDR and Vitamin D-responsive genes and determines the therapeutic response to Vitamin D in PDAC.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41419-024-06460-9

    View details for PubMedID 38272889

    View details for PubMedCentralID 5858034

  • Multifaceted role for p53 in pancreatic cancer suppression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Mello, S. S., Flowers, B. M., Mazur, P. K., Lee, J. J., Müller, F., Denny, S. K., Ferreira, S., Hanson, K., Kim, S. K., Greenleaf, W. J., Wood, L. D., Attardi, L. D. 2023; 120 (10): e2211937120


    The vast majority of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) harbor TP53 mutations, underscoring p53's critical role in PDAC suppression. PDAC can arise when pancreatic acinar cells undergo acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM), giving rise to premalignant pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs), which finally progress to PDAC. The occurrence of TP53 mutations in late-stage PanINs has led to the idea that p53 acts to suppress malignant transformation of PanINs to PDAC. However, the cellular basis for p53 action during PDAC development has not been explored in detail. Here, we leverage a hyperactive p53 variant-p5353,54-which we previously showed is a more robust PDAC suppressor than wild-type p53, to elucidate how p53 acts at the cellular level to dampen PDAC development. Using both inflammation-induced and KRASG12D-driven PDAC models, we find that p5353,54 both limits ADM accumulation and suppresses PanIN cell proliferation and does so more effectively than wild-type p53. Moreover, p5353,54 suppresses KRAS signaling in PanINs and limits effects on the extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. While p5353,54 has highlighted these functions, we find that pancreata in wild-type p53 mice similarly show less ADM, as well as reduced PanIN cell proliferation, KRAS signaling, and ECM remodeling relative to Trp53-null mice. We find further that p53 enhances chromatin accessibility at sites controlled by acinar cell identity transcription factors. These findings reveal that p53 acts at multiple stages to suppress PDAC, both by limiting metaplastic transformation of acini and by dampening KRAS signaling in PanINs, thus providing key new understanding of p53 function in PDAC.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2211937120

    View details for PubMedID 36848578

  • Understanding the Arf-p53 axis in PDAC suppression Attardi, L. D., Flowers, B. M., Hanson, K., Mulligan, A. S., Ferreira, S., Bhattacharyya, S., Vogel, H., Wood, L. D., Sherman, M. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2022: 33-34
  • Characterizing acinar cell and ductal cell derived PDACs in mouse models Ferreira, S., Flowers, B. M., Hanson, K. J., Gatto, A., Bhattacharyya, S., Sherman, M. H., Attardi, L. D. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2022: 40-41