Abstract

Background

A significant gap in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patient’s care is the lack of molecular parameters characterizing tumours and allowing a personalized treatment.

Methods

Patient-derived xenografts (PDX) were obtained from 76 consecutive PDAC and classified according to their histology into five groups. A PDAC molecular gradient (PAMG) was constructed from PDX transcriptomes recapitulating the five histological groups along a continuous gradient. The prognostic and predictive value for PMAG was evaluated in: i/ two independent series (n = 598) of resected tumours; ii/ 60 advanced tumours obtained by diagnostic EUS-guided biopsy needle flushing and iii/ on 28 biopsies from mFOLFIRINOX treated metastatic tumours.

Findings

A unique transcriptomic signature (PAGM) was generated with significant and independent prognostic value. PAMG significantly improves the characterization of PDAC heterogeneity compared to non-overlapping classifications as validated in 4 independent series of tumours (e.g. 308 consecutive resected PDAC, uHR=0.321 95% CI [0.207–0.5] and 60 locally-advanced or metastatic PDAC, uHR=0.308 95% CI [0.113–0.836]). The PAMG signature is also associated with progression under mFOLFIRINOX treatment (Pearson correlation to tumour response: -0.67, p-value < 0.001).

Interpretation

PAMG unify all PDAC pre-existing classifications inducing a shift in the actual paradigm of binary classifications towards a better characterization in a gradient.

Funding

Project funding was provided by INCa (Grants number 2018–078 and 2018–079, BACAP BCB INCa_6294), Canceropole PACA, DGOS (labellisation SIRIC), Amidex Foundation, Fondation de France, INSERM and Ligue Contre le Cancer.

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