Pancreatic cancer incidence and death rates are on the rise. Most available therapies fail partly due to the uniquely inflammatory pancreatic tumor stromal compartment. Prolonged and unresolved inflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer, yet the critical inflammatory mediators remain largely unknown. The role of lipid autacoids in pancreatic cancer, which are metabolites of arachidonic acid and other related fatty acids, has not been thoroughly studied. Among these, metabolites of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases and ω-hydroxylases, including EETs and 20-HETE, respectively, have been mostly neglected in cancer. We previously showed that epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) stimulate multi-organ metastasis and tumor dormancy escape. Here we show that elevated levels of 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE), a product of ω-hydroxylases of the CYP4A/F subfamilies, stimulated pancreatic primary tumor growth and metastasis. We measured 20-HETE and other lipid autacoids via LC/MS/MS in multiple cell lines and found that 20-HETE was produced primarily by pancreatic cancer cells, which express the 20-HETE generating enzyme, CYP4F2. Overexpression of CYP4F2 and exogenous 20-HETE induced Ras activity in HEK293 cells or pancreatic cancer and macrophage cell lines, respectively. 20-HETE attracted human macrophages in vitro, while macrophage migration was reduced towards pancreatic cancer cells treated with an inhibitor of 20-HETE synthesis, HET0016. Inhibition of 20-HETE synthesis in human macrophages and pancreatic cancer cells decreased HB-EGF and M-CSF production. Systemic administration of 20-HETE promoted primary human and murine pancreatic tumor growth in subcutaneous and orthotopic murine models. Transgenic mice overexpressing 20-HETE (Tie2-CYP4F2 Tr) exhibited spontaneous liver and mediastinal lymph node metastasis following resection of subcutaneous primary pancreatic tumors, in contrast to wild type control mice. Targeting 20-HETE by HET0016 or siRNA towards CYP4F2 suppressed primary pancreatic tumor growth. Systemic treatment of orthotopic pancreatic tumors with HET0016, 14,15-EEZE, and gemcitabine regressed established pancreatic tumors and prolonged survival without overt toxicity. Thus, 20-HETE critically regulates Ras activation, inflammation, and pancreatic tumor growth and metastasis. Our studies offer a mechanistic rationale for pharmacologically targeting 20-HETE as a novel approach to treat pancreatic cancer.

Citation Format: Yael Gus-Brautbar, Julia Piwowarski, Jessica A. Casper, Diane R. Bielenberg, Jennifer Cheng, Birgitta Schmidt, Bruce D. Hammock, Darryl C. Zeldin, Mark W. Kieran, Dipak Panigrahy. Targeting the eicosanoid 20-HETE suppresses pancreatic cancer growth and metastasis through regulation of inflammation. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 5133.