Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most metastatic and deadly cancers. Despite the clinical significance of metastatic spread, our understanding of molecular mechanisms that drive PDAC metastatic ability remains limited. By generating a genetically engineered mouse model of human PDAC, we uncover a transient subpopulation of cancer cells with exceptionally high metastatic ability. Global gene expression profiling and functional analyses uncovered the transcription factor BLIMP1 as a driver of PDAC metastasis. The highly metastatic PDAC subpopulation is enriched for hypoxia-induced genes, and hypoxia-mediated induction of BLIMP1 contributes to the regulation of a subset of hypoxia-associated gene expression programs. These findings support a model in which upregulation of BLIMP1 links microenvironmental cues to a metastatic stem cell character.Significance: PDAC is an almost uniformly lethal cancer, largely due to its tendency for metastasis. We define a highly metastatic subpopulation of cancer cells, uncover a key transcriptional regulator of metastatic ability, and define hypoxia as an important factor within the tumor microenvironment that increases metastatic proclivity. Cancer Discov; 7(10); 1184-99. ©2017 AACR.See related commentary by Vakoc and Tuveson, p. 1067This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1047.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Discov

Publication Date





1184 - 1199


Animals, Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal, Cell Hypoxia, Cell Line, Tumor, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Genetic Engineering, Humans, Mice, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neoplasm Transplantation, Pancreatic Neoplasms, Positive Regulatory Domain I-Binding Factor 1, Sequence Analysis, RNA, Tumor Microenvironment, Up-Regulation