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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most lethal type of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death with the lowest 5-year survival rate. Heterogeneity, difficulty in diagnosis, and rapid metastatic progression are the causes of high mortality in pancreatic cancer. Recent studies have shown that Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is overexpressed in pancreatic cancers, and these patients have a worse prognosis. Recently, PRMT5 as an anti-cancer target has gained considerable interest. In this study, we investigated whether inhibition of PRMT5 activity was synergistic with blockade of TGF-β1 signaling, which plays an important role in the construction of the desmoplastic matrix in pancreatic cancer and induces therapeutic vulnerability. Compared with T1-44, a selective inhibitor of PRMT5 activity, the combination of T1-44 with the TGF-β1 signaling inhibitor Vactosertib significantly reduced tumor size and surrounding tissue invasion and significantly improved long-term survival. RNA sequencing analysis of mouse tumors revealed that the combination of T1-44 and Vactosertib significantly altered the expression of genes involved in cancer progression, such as cell migration, extracellular matrix, and apoptotic processes. In particular, the expression of Btg2, known as a tumor suppressor factor in various cancers, was markedly induced by combination treatment. Ectopic overexpression of Btg2 inhibited the EMT response, blocking cell migration, and promoted cancer cell death. These data demonstrate that the combination therapy of T1-44 with Vactosertib is synergistic for pancreatic cancer, suggesting that this novel combination therapy has value in the treatment strategy of patients with pancreatic cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Death Dis

Publication Date





Animals, Mice, Transforming Growth Factor beta1, Pancreatic Neoplasms, Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal, Enzyme Inhibitors, Cell Line, Tumor