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  • The Rho/MRTF pathway inhibitor CCG-222740 reduces stellate cell activation and modulates immune cell populations in KrasG12D; Pdx1-Cre (KC) mice.

The Rho/MRTF pathway inhibitor CCG-222740 reduces stellate cell activation and modulates immune cell populations in KrasG12D; Pdx1-Cre (KC) mice.

Scientific reports (2019-05-10)
Ana S Leal, Sean A Misek, Erika M Lisabeth, Richard R Neubig, Karen T Liby
ABSTRACT

The stromal reaction in pancreatic cancer creates a physical barrier that blocks therapeutic intervention and creates an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. The Rho/myocardin-related transcription factor (MRTF) pathway is implicated in the hyper-activation of fibroblasts in fibrotic diseases and the activation of pancreatic stellate cells. In this study we use CCG-222740, a small molecule, designed as a Rho/MRTF pathway inhibitor. This compound decreases the activation of stellate cells in vitro and in vivo, by reducing the levels of alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression. CCG-222740 also modulates inflammatory components of the pancreas in KC mice (LSL-KrasG12D/+; Pdx-1-Cre) stimulated with caerulein. It decreases the infiltration of macrophages and increases CD4 T cells and B cells. Analysis of the pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDA) TCGA dataset revealed a correlation between elevated RhoA, RhoC and MRTF expression and decreased survival in PDA patients. Moreover, a MRTF signature is correlated with a Th2 cell signature in human PDA tumors.