Mutant KRAS is a druggable target for pancreatic cancer
ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) represents an unmet therapeutic challenge. PDA is addicted to the activity of the mutated KRAS oncogene which is considered so far an undruggable therapeutic target. We propose an approach to target KRAS effectively in patients using RNA interference. To meet this challenge, we have developed a local prolonged siRNA delivery system (Local Drug EluteR, LODER) shedding siRNA against the mutated KRAS (KRAS-LODER). The KRAS-LODER was assessed for its structural, release, and delivery properties in vitro and in vivo. The effect of the KRAS-LODER on tumor growth was assessed in s.c. and orthotopic mouse models. KRAS silencing effect was further assessed on the KRAS downstream signaling pathway. The LODER-encapsulated siRNA was stable and active in vivo for 155 d. Treatment of PDA cells with KRAS-LODER resulted in a significant decrease in KRAS levels, leading to inhibition of proliferation and epithelial–mesenchymal transition. In vivo, KRAS-LODER impeded the growth of human pancreatic tumor cells and prolonged mouse survival. We report a reproducible and safe delivery platform based on a miniature biodegradable polymeric matrix, for the controlled and prolonged delivery of siRNA. This technology provides the following advantages: (i) siRNA is protected from degradation; (ii) the siRNA is slowly released locally within the tumor for prolonged periods; and (iii) the KRAS-LODER elicits a therapeutic effect, thereby demonstrating that mutated KRAS is indeed a druggable target.