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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 5190314, 9 pages
Research Article

Hyperglycemia Promotes the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition of Pancreatic Cancer via Hydrogen Peroxide

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China

Received 14 March 2016; Revised 15 April 2016; Accepted 21 April 2016

Academic Editor: Alexandr V. Bazhin

Copyright © 2016 Wei Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) and pancreatic cancer are intimately related, as approximately 85% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have impaired glucose tolerance or even DM. Our previous studies have indicated that high glucose could promote the invasive and migratory abilities of pancreatic cancer cells. We therefore explored the underlying mechanism that hyperglycemia modulates the metastatic potential of pancreatic cancer. Our data showed that streptozotocin- (STZ-) treated diabetic nude mice exhibit larger tumor size than that of the euglycemic mice. The number of nude mice that develop liver metastasis or ascites is much more in the STZ-treated group than that in the euglycemic group. Hyperglycemic mice contain a higher plasma H2O2-level than that from euglycemic mice. The injection of polyethylene glycol-conjugated catalase (PEG-CAT), an H2O2 scavenger, may reverse hyperglycemia-induced tumor metastasis. In addition, hyperglycemia could also modulate the expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition- (EMT-) related factors in pancreatic tumor tissues, as the E-cadherin level is decreased and the expression of mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and vimentin as well as transcription factor snail is strongly increased. The injection of PEG-CAT could also reverse hyperglycemia-induced EMT. These results suggest that the association between hyperglycemia and poor prognosis of pancreatic cancer can be attributed to the alterations of EMT through the production of hydrogen peroxide.