The ETS family transcription factor ESE3 is a crucial element in differentiation and development programs for many epithelial tissues. Here we report its role as a tumor suppressor in pancreatic cancer. We observed drastically lower ESE3 expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) compared with adjacent normal pancreatic tissue. Reduced expression of ESE3 in PDAC correlated closely with an increase in lymph node metastasis and vessel invasion and a decrease in relapse-free and overall survival in patients. In functional experiments, downregulating the expression of ESE3 promoted PDAC cell motility and invasiveness along with metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model. Mechanistic studies in PDAC cell lines, the orthotopic mouse model, and human PDAC specimens demonstrated that ESE3 inhibited PDAC metastasis by directly upregulating E-cadherin expression at the level of its transcription. Collectively, our results establish ESE3 as a negative regulator of PDAC progression and metastasis by enforcing E-cadherin upregulation. Cancer Res; 77(4); 874–85. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Research Online (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 10, 2016.
- Revision received November 12, 2016.
- Accepted November 19, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.