Research Papers:

Inhibition of Eph receptor A4 by 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid suppresses human pancreatic cancer growing orthotopically in nude mice

Hironobu Takano _, Toru Nakamura, Takahiro Tsuchikawa, Toshihiro Kushibiki, Kouji Hontani, Kazuho Inoko, Mizuna Takahashi, Shoki Sato, Hirotake Abe, Shintaro Takeuchi, Nagato Sato, Kei Hiraoka, Hiroshi Nishihara, Toshiaki Shichinohe and Satoshi Hirano

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:41063-41076. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5729

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Hironobu Takano1, Toru Nakamura1, Takahiro Tsuchikawa1, Toshihiro Kushibiki1, Kouji Hontani1, Kazuho Inoko1, Mizuna Takahashi1, Shoki Sato1, Hirotake Abe1, Shintaro Takeuchi1, Nagato Sato1, Kei Hiraoka1, Hiroshi Nishihara2, Toshiaki Shichinohe1, Satoshi Hirano1

1Department of Gastroenterological Surgery II, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan

2Department of Translational Pathology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan

Correspondence to:

Toru Nakamura, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: EphA4, prognostic factor, 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid, human pancreatic cancer, orthotopic models

Received: April 21, 2015     Accepted: September 20, 2015     Published: October 19, 2015


Ephrin receptor A4 (EphA4) is overexpressed in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and activate cell growth. Recent studies have identified small molecules that block EphA4. In this study, we investigated the correlation between EphA4 expression and the prognosis of patients with PDAC. We also examined the cytostatic efficacy of 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid (compound 1), a small molecule that blocks EphA4, in PDAC cells. Overall survival of patients with EphA4 positivity was significantly shorter than that of patients with EphA4 negativity (P = 0.029). In addition, multivariate analysis revealed that EphA4 expression was an independent prognostic factor in PDAC patients (P = 0.039). Compound 1 showed a cytostatic efficacy in PDAC cells expressing EphA4 in vitro and in vivo. Our study indicated that compound 1 suppressed both EphA4 and Akt phosphorylations, and induced apoptosis in PDAC cells expressing EphA4. In conclusion, compound 1 has a high potential as a therapeutic agent for patients with PDAC.

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