The American journal of pathology

Transcriptomic analysis predicts survival and sensitivity to anticancer drugs of patients with a pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

PMID 25765988


A major impediment to the effective treatment of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the molecular heterogeneity of this disease, which is reflected in an equally diverse pattern of clinical outcome and in responses to therapies. We developed an efficient strategy in which PDAC samples from 17 consecutive patients were collected by endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration or surgery and were preserved as breathing tumors by xenografting and as a primary culture of epithelial cells. Transcriptomic analysis was performed from breathing tumors by an Affymetrix approach. We observed significant heterogeneity in the RNA expression profile of tumors. However, the bioinformatic analysis of these data was able to discriminate between patients with long- and short-term survival corresponding to patients with moderately or poorly differentiated PDAC tumors, respectively. Primary culture of cells allowed us to analyze their relative sensitivity to anticancer drugs in vitro using a chemogram, similar to the antibiogram for microorganisms, establishing an individual profile of drug sensitivity. As expected, the response was patient dependent. We also found that transcriptomic analysis predicts the sensitivity of cells to the five anticancer drugs most frequently used to treat patients with PDAC. In conclusion, using this approach, we found that transcriptomic analysis could predict the sensitivity to anticancer drugs and the clinical outcome of patients with PDAC.