Research Papers:

Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 exhibits oncogenic activity in pancreatic cancer

Youguang Luo, Siqi Gao, Ziwei Hao, Yang Yang, Songbo Xie, Dengwen Li, Min Liu and Jun Zhou _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:75155-75164. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12090

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Youguang Luo1,2,*, Siqi Gao2,*, Ziwei Hao2, Yang Yang2, Songbo Xie1, Dengwen Li2, Min Liu1, Jun Zhou1,2

1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Life Sciences, Key Laboratory of Animal Resistance Biology of Shandong Province, Key Laboratory of Molecular and Nano Probes of the Ministry of Education, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China

2State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jun Zhou, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pancreatic cancer, ASK1, kinase activity, cell proliferation, cell migration

Received: June 13, 2016    Accepted: September 05, 2016    Published: September 17, 2016


Pancreatic cancer has an extremely grim prognosis, with an overall 5-year survival rate less than 5%, as a result of its rapid metastasis and late diagnosis. To combat this disease, it is crucial to better understand the molecular mechanisms that contribute to its pathogenesis. Herein, we report that apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer tissues and that its expression correlates with the histological grade of pancreatic cancer. The expression of ASK1 is also elevated in pancreatic cancer cell lines at both protein and mRNA levels. In addition, ASK1 promotes the proliferation and stimulates the tumorigenic capacity of pancreatic cancer cells. These functions of ASK1 are abrogated by pharmacological inhibition of its kinase activity or by introduction of a kinase-dead mutation, suggesting that the kinase activity of ASK1 is required for its role in pancreatic cancer. However, the alteration of ASK1 expression or activity does not significantly affect the migration or invasion of pancreatic cancer cells. Collectively, these findings reveal a critical role for ASK1 in the development of pancreatic cancer and have important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of this malignancy.

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