The ITGB6 gene encoding a protein that can regulate the integrin v6 heterodimer protein expression in different status was shown to play an important role in multiple human cancers, such as brain cancer, colon cancer and oral cancer, and is related to clinical progression. This study aims to explore the function and the mechanism of the ITGB6 gene or protein in pancreatic cancer.

Material and methods:
We examined the expression of ITGB6 in pancreatic cancer using immunohistochemistry and analyzed the relationship between the expression of ITGB6 and the clinicopathologic features in pancreatic cancer patients. In addition, a bioinformatic method was used to analyze the ITGB6 mRNA level in pancreatic tumor tissues compared with normal pancreatic tissues and to analyze the correlation between high KIF23 expression and prognosis in pancreatic cancer patients. Moreover, colony formation assay, MTT assay, cell scratch, cell invasion and western blot assays in vitro and a xenograft mouse model in vivo were performed to analyze the effect of KIF23 on proliferation and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells.

Increased expression of ITGB6 was significantly correlated with poor clinical outcome in both our clinical data and TCGA data of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, functional assays revealed that ITGB6 knockdown in vivo and in vitro might inhibit cancer cell proliferation and the ability of invasion or migration.

Our data suggest that ITGB6 is associated with pancreatic cancer malignant progression. Hence, ITGB6 may serve as a potential target of pancreatic cancer for future research, and further study is needed.

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