Progression of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) to invasive carcinoma is a critical factor impacting the prognosis of patients with pancreatic tumors. However, the molecular mechanisms involved are not fully understood. We have reported that the process frequently involves loss of chromosome 8p, causing downregulation of DUSP4, thus conferring invasive ability on cancer cells. Here, we focus on ZNF395, whose expression was also found to be decreased by 8p loss and was predicted to be a growth suppressor gene.
Pancreatic cancer cell lines inducibly expressing ZNF395 were established to assess the functional significance of ZNF395 in pancreatic carcinogenesis. Immunohistochemistry was also performed to analyze the expression levels of ZNF395 in pancreatic cancer tissues.
Induction of ZNF395 in pancreatic cancer cells resulted in marked activation of JNK and suppression of their proliferation through a delay in cell cycle progression. Immunohistochemistry revealed that ZNF395 was expressed ubiquitously in both normal pancreatic ducts and PanINs but was significantly reduced in invasive cancers, especially those showing poor differentiation.
ZNF395 acts as a novel tumor suppressor gene. Its downregulation caused by 8p loss in intraepithelial cells accelerates their proliferation through dysregulation of the cell cycle, leading to progression to invasive cancer.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.