Primary and Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Cells Exhibit Differential Migratory Potentials

Joo Kyung Park, Thomas Hank, Cally M. Scherber, Keith D. Lillemoe, Carlos Fernández-Del Castillo, Andrew L. Warshaw, Mehmet Toner, Daniel Irimia, Sarah P. Thayer, Andrew S. Liss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by early metastatic spread in more than 50% of patients. In this study, we sought to understand the migratory properties of (non)metastatic PDAC cells and determine whether the migration of cancer stem cell (CSC) populations accounts for the aggressive nature of this disease. Methods The migratory abilities of primary and metastatic PDAC cell lines were investigated using a microfluidic device and time-lapse photography. The velocity, time of delay of mobilization, and number of migratory cells were analyzed. Cancer stem cell subpopulations were isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and their migratory properties compared with their non-CSC counterparts. Results Primary cancer cells exhibited higher velocities, greater number of migratory cells, and a shorter time of delay of mobilization in comparison to metastatic cell lines. Characterization of CSC populations revealed primary PDAC cell lines were composed of fewer CD133+ and CD24+CD44+ CSC subpopulations than metastatic cells. Moreover, migratory analysis of CSC subpopulations revealed lower velocities, fewer migratory cells, and a greater time of delay of mobilization than non-CSC. Conclusions Primary cancer cells demonstrate enhanced migratory abilities in comparison to metastatic PDAC cells. Those differences may result from lower CSC subpopulations in primary cells because CSC populations demonstrated impaired migratory abilities in contrast to non-CSC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • CD133
  • metastasis
  • migration
  • pancreatic cancer
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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