CEACAM6 gene silencing impairs anoikis resistance and in vivo metastatic ability of pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells

Mark S. Duxbury, Hiromichi Ito, Michael J. Zinner, Stanley W. Ashley, Edward E. Whang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Anoikis is the apoptotic response induced in normal cells by inadequate or inappropriate adhesion to substrate. It is postulated that resistance to anoikis facilitates tumorigenesis and metastasis. Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) is an immunoglobulin superfamily member overexpressed in a number of human cancers and implicated in anoikis resistance. We tested the effect of CEACAM6 gene silencing on anoikis in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines. Anoikis was induced in PANC1, Capan2, MiaPaCa2 and MiaAR (a MiaPaCa2-derived anoikis-resistant subline) by culture in poly-2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate-coated wells. Anoikis was quantified by YO-PRO-1/propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. The role of caspase activation was determined using fluorometric profiling and the caspase inhibitor Z-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethyl ketone (Z-VAD-fmk). CEACAM6 expression was suppressed by RNA interference. Using a nude mouse orthotopic xenograft model, we assessed the effect of this treatment on in vivo metastatic ability. Anoikis resistance was associated with increased CEACAM6 expression. CEACAM6-specific short interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA), but not control siRNA, increased susceptibility to caspase-mediated anoikis, an effect abrogated by Z-VAD-fmk, and decreased Akt phosphorylation (Ser-473) under anchorage-independent conditions. CEACAM6 gene silencing reversed the acquired anoikis resistance of MiaAR and inhibited its in vivo metastatic ability. CEACAM6 warrants further investigation as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Anoikis
  • Metastasis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • RNA interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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