Induction of Metastasis by Low-dose Gemcitabine in a Pancreatic Cancer Orthotopic Mouse Model: An opposite effect of chemotherapy

Norihiko Sugisawa, Kentaro Miyake, Takashi Higuchi, Hiromichi Oshiro, Zhiying Zhang, Jun Ho Park, Kei Kawaguchi, Sant P. Chawla, Michael Bouvet, Shree R.A.M. Singh, Michiaki Unno, Robert M. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: Gemcitabine is standard first-line treatment for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, however the efficacy is limited. Although acquired drug resistance and side-effects are known to limit efficacy, opposite effects of a drug, which enhance the malignancy of treated cancer, have been observed but are not well understood. The aim of the present study was to determine whether gemcitabine has such opposite effects on the BxPC-3 human pancreatic cancer cell line expressing green fluorescent protein (BxPC-3-GFP) in an orthotopic mouse model. Materials and Methods: BxPC-3-GFP tumors grown subcutaneously in nude mice were harvested. Tumor fragments were orthotopically implanted in the tail of the pancreas of nude mice using the technique of surgical orthotopic implantation. The BxPC-3-GFP orthotopic models were divided randomly into three groups: Group 1: untreated control; Group 2: low-dose gemcitabine (weekly intraperitoneal injection at 25 mg/kg for 6 weeks); Group 3: high-dose gemcitabine (weekly intraperitoneal injection at 125 mg/kg for 6 weeks). Each group comprised eight mice. Tumor size, fluorescent area of metastases, and body weight were measured. Results: Low- and high-dose gemcitabine inhibited primary tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner, and to the greatest extent by high-dose gemcitabine compared to the untreated control (p=0.0134). In contrast, the extent of metastasis on the peritoneum was significantly increased by low-dose gemcitabine compared to the untreated control (p=0.0112). The extent of metastasis showed no significant difference between the untreated control and mice treated with high-dose gemcitabine. Body weight of the treated mice was not significantly different from that of the untreated mice. Conclusion: The use of very bright GFP expressing of BxPC-3 cells and the orthotopic model demonstrated an unexpected increase in metastasis by low-dose gemcitabine. Future experiments will investigate the mechanism of this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5339-5344
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Gemcitabine
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Metastasis
  • Opposite effect
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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