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NDSU Faculty to Publish Pancreatic Cancer Research

Fargo, N.D. — Erxi Wu, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at NDSU, and Fengfei Wang, research associate of pharmaceutical sciences, co-wrote the article, "Relationship between neural alteration and perineural invasion in pancreatic cancer patients with hyperglycemia," which has been selected for publication by PLoS ONE online journal.

According to the authors, patients with higher levels of fasting serum glucose have higher death rates from pancreatic cancer compared to patients with lower levels of fasting serum glucose. However, the reasons have not been studied. The goal of the current study was to examine the neural alterations in pancreatic cancer patients with hyperglycemia and to identify the relationship between the neural alterations and perineural invasion (PNI).

"In this study, we present the neural alteration and extent of PNI in the primary tumors of pancreatic cancer (PanCa) patients in the context of glucose control. Our data suggest that hyperglycemia, a common confounding factor associated with PanCa, may contribute to PNI. We demonstrated that patients with hyperglycemia display reduced expression of Myelin PO protein, and elevated expression of nerve growth factor and p75 in comparison to the patients with euglycemia. Furthermore, tumors from patients with hyperglycemia showed an elevation in the stage of PNI in comparison to tumors from the patients with euglycemia," senior author Wu said. "We have recently established a close collaboration with Dr. Qingyong Ma's laboratory at Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, in elucidating the mechanisms of the targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer, a fatal disease."

PLoS ONE, which is produced by the Public Library of Science, is described as "an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication." It features reports of original research from all disciplines in science and medicine. By not excluding papers on the basis of subject area, PLoS ONE facilitates connections between papers within or between disciplines ( During the past three years, Wu has published three papers in this journal (see previous news:

Wu's laboratory research interests include tumor therapeutic targets, drug discovery and biomarkers.  Both Wu and Wang joined NDSU in December 2008. Prior to joining NDSU, Wu and Wang worked at Harvard University for more than 10 and eight years, respectively. Wu was a faculty member at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard University, and Wang was a research associate at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University.

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