Head and Body/Tail Pancreatic Carcinomas Are Not the Same Tumors
David Jérémie Birnbaum, François Bertucci, Pascal Finetti, Daniel Birnbaum and Emilie Mamessier
The association between pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) location (head vs. Body/Tail (B/T)) and clinical outcome remains controversial. We collected clinicopathological and gene expression data from 249 resected PDAC samples from public data sets, and we compared data between 208 head and 41 B/T samples. The 2-year overall survival (OS) was better for the head than for the B/T PDACs (44 vs. 27%, p = 0.043), especially when comparing tumors with similar TNM classification (T3/4N0M0: 67% vs. 17%, p = 0.002) or from the same molecular class (squamous subtype: 31% vs. 0%, p < 0.0001). Bailey’s molecular subtypes were differentially distributed within the two groups, with the immunogenic subtype being underrepresented in the “B/T” group (p = 0.005). Uni- and multivariate analyses indicated that PDAC anatomic location was an independent prognostic factor. Finally, the supervised analysis identified 334 genes differentially expressed. Genes upregulated in the “head” group suggested lymphocyte activation and pancreas exocrine functions. Genes upregulated in the “B/T” group were related to keratinocyte differentiation, in line with the enrichment for squamous phenotype. We identified a robust gene expression signature (GES) associated with B/T PDAC location, suggesting that head and B/T PDAC are different. This GES could serve as an indicator for differential therapeutic management based on PDAC location.