Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Milind Javle, MD

Committee Member

Donghui Li, PhD

Committee Member

James Abbruzzese, MD

Committee Member

Robert Wolff, MD

Committee Member

Razelle Kurzrock, MD


The plasma membrane xc- cystine/glutamate transporter mediates cellular uptake of cystine in exchange for intracellular glutamate and is highly expressed by pancreatic cancer cells. The xCT gene, encoding the cystine-specific xCT protein subunit of xc-, is important in regulating intracellular glutathione (GSH) levels, critical for cancer cell protection against oxidative stress, tumor growth and resistance to chemotherapeutic agents including platinum. We examined 4 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the xCT gene in 269 advanced pancreatic cancer patients who received first line gemcitabine with or without cisplatin or oxaliplatin. Genotyping was performed using Taqman real-time PCR assays. A statistically significant correlation was noted between the 3' untranslated region (UTR) xCT SNP rs7674870 and overall survival (OS): Median survival time (MST) was 10.9 and 13.6 months, respectively, for the TT and TC/CC genotypes (p = 0.027). Stratified analysis showed the genotype effect was significant in patients receiving gemcitabine in combination with platinum therapy (n = 145): MST was 10.5 versus 14.1 months for the TT and TC/CC genotypes, respectively (p = 0.013). The 3' UTR xCT SNP rs7674870 may correlate with OS in pancreatic cancer patients receiving gemcitabine and platinum combination therapy. Paraffin-embedded core and surgical biopsy tumor specimens from 98 patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma were analyzed by immunohistochemistry using an xCT specific antibody. xCT protein IHC expression scores were analyzed in relation to overall survival in 86 patients and genotype in 12 patients and no statistically significant association was found between the level of xCT IHC expression score and overall survival (p = 0.514). When xCT expression was analyzed in terms of treatment response, no statistically significant associations could be determined (p = 0.908). These data suggest that polymorphic variants of xCT may have predictive value, and that the xc- transporter may represent an important target for therapy in pancreatic cancer.


xCT, SNPs, pancreatic cancer, glutathione, cystine, xc-, gemcitabine, platinum, chemoresistance, immunohistochemistry



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