Research Papers:

Multi-omics analysis reveals that ornithine decarboxylase contributes to erlotinib resistance in pancreatic cancer cells

Won-Jun Jang, Boyeon Choi, Sang-Hoon Song, Naeun Lee, Dong-Joon Kim, Sooyeun Lee _ and Chul-Ho Jeong

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:92727-92742. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21572

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Won-Jun Jang1,*, Boyeon Choi1,*, Sang-Hoon Song1, Naeun Lee1, Dong-Joon Kim2, Sooyeun Lee1 and Chul-Ho Jeong1

1College of Pharmacy, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Republic of Korea

2China-US (Henan) Hormel Cancer Institute, Zhengzhou 450008, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Sooyeun Lee, email: [email protected]

Chul-Ho Jeong, email: [email protected]

Keywords: resistance, erlotinib, pancreatic cancer, metabolomics, ornithine decarboxylase

Received: August 06, 2017     Accepted: September 04, 2017     Published: October 06, 2017


Molecular and metabolic alterations in cancer cells are one of the leading causes of acquired resistance to chemotherapeutics. In this study, we explored an experimental strategy to identify which of these alterations can induce erlotinib resistance in human pancreatic cancer. Using genetically matched erlotinib-sensitive (BxPC-3) and erlotinib-resistant (BxPC-3ER) pancreatic cancer cells, we conducted a multi-omics analysis of metabolomes and transcriptomes in these cells. Untargeted and targeted metabolomic analyses revealed significant changes in metabolic pathways involved in the regulation of polyamines, amino acids, and fatty acids. Further transcriptomic analysis identified that ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and its major metabolite, putrescine, contribute to the acquisition of erlotinib resistance in BxPC-3ER cells. Notably, either pharmacological or genetic blockage of ODC was able to restore erlotinib sensitivity, and this could be rescued by treatment with exogenous putrescine in erlotinib-resistant BxPC-3ER cells. Moreover, using a panel of cancer cells we demonstrated that ODC expression levels in cancer cells are inversely correlated with sensitivity to chemotherapeutics. Taken together, our findings will begin to uncover mechanisms of acquired drug resistance and ultimately help to identify potential therapeutic markers in cancer.

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