Establishment and Molecular Characterization of Two Patient-Derived Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cell Lines as Preclinical Models for Treatment Response

Rüdiger Braun*, Olha Lapshyna, Jessica Watzelt, Maren Drenckhan, Axel Künstner, Benedikt Färber, Ahmed Ahmed Mohammed Hael, Louisa Bolm, Kim Christin Honselmann, Björn Konukiewitz, Darko Castven, Malte Spielmann, Sivahari Prasad Gorantla, Hauke Busch, Jens Uwe Marquardt, Tobias Keck, Ulrich Friedrich Wellner, Hendrik Ungefroren*

*Corresponding author for this work


The prognosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is exceedingly poor. Although surgical resection is the only curative treatment option, multimodal treatment is of the utmost importance, as only about 20% of tumors are primarily resectable at the time of diagnosis. The choice of chemotherapeutic treatment regimens involving gemcitabine and FOLFIRINOX is currently solely based on the patient’s performance status, but, ideally, it should be based on the tumors’ individual biology. We established two novel patient-derived primary cell lines from surgical PDAC specimens. LuPanc-1 and LuPanc-2 were derived from a pT3, pN1, G2 and a pT3, pN2, G3 tumor, respectively, and the clinical follow-up was fully annotated. STR-genotyping revealed a unique profile for both cell lines. The population doubling time of LuPanc-2 was substantially longer than that of LuPanc-1 (84 vs. 44 h). Both cell lines exhibited a typical epithelial morphology and expressed moderate levels of CK7 and E-cadherin. LuPanc-1, but not LuPanc-2, co-expressed E-cadherin and vimentin at the single-cell level, suggesting a mixed epithelial-mesenchymal differentiation. LuPanc-1 had a missense mutation (p.R282W) and LuPanc-2 had a frameshift deletion (p.P89X) in TP53. BRCA2 was nonsense-mutated (p.Q780*) and CREBBP was missense-mutated (p.P279R) in LuPanc-1. CDKN2A was missense-mutated (p.H83Y) in LuPanc-2. Notably, only LuPanc-2 harbored a partial or complete deletion of DPC4. LuPanc-1 cells exhibited high basal and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced migratory activity in real-time cell migration assays, while LuPanc-2 was refractory. Both LuPanc-1 and LuPanc-2 cells responded to treatment with TGF-β1 with the activation of SMAD2; however, only LuPanc-1 cells were able to induce TGF-β1 target genes, which is consistent with the absence of DPC4 in LuPanc-2 cells. Both cell lines were able to form spheres in a semi-solid medium and in cell viability assays, LuPanc-1 cells were more sensitive than LuPanc-2 cells to treatment with gemcitabine and FOLFIRINOX. In summary, both patient-derived cell lines show distinct molecular phenotypes reflecting their individual tumor biology, with a unique clinical annotation of the respective patients. These preclinical ex vivo models can be further explored for potential new treatment strategies and might help in developing personalized (targeted) therapy regimens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number587
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11.02.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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