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1.  Bladder cancer cells secrete while normal bladder cells express but do not secrete AGR2 
Oncotarget  2016;7(13):15747-15756.
Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2) is a cancer-associated secreted protein found predominantly in adenocarcinomas. Given its ubiquity in solid tumors, cancer-secreted AGR2 could be a useful biomarker in urine or blood for early detection. However, normal organs express and might also secrete AGR2, which would impact its utility as a cancer biomarker. Uniform AGR2 expression is found in the normal bladder urothelium. Little AGR2 is secreted by the urothelial cells as no measurable amounts could be detected in urine. The urinary proteomes of healthy people contain no listing for AGR2. Likewise, the blood proteomes of healthy people also contain no significant peptide counts for AGR2 suggesting little urothelial secretion into capillaries of the lamina propria. Expression of AGR2 is lost in urothelial carcinoma, with only 25% of primary tumors observed to retain AGR2 expression in a cohort of lymph node-positive cases. AGR2 is secreted by the urothelial carcinoma cells as urinary AGR2 was measured in the voided urine of 25% of the cases analyzed in a cohort of cancer vs. non-cancer patients. The fraction of AGR2-positive urine samples was consistent with the fraction of urothelial carcinoma that stained positive for AGR2. Since cancer cells secrete AGR2 while normal cells do not, its measurement in body fluids could be used to indicate tumor presence. Furthermore, AGR2 has also been found on the cell surface of cancer cells. Taken together, secretion and cell surface localization of AGR2 are characteristic of cancer, while expression of AGR2 by itself is not.
PMCID: PMC4941274  PMID: 26894971
secreted AGR2; bladder cancer; subcellular localization; urine biomarker
2.  A highly sensitive targeted mass spectrometric assay for quantification of AGR2 protein in human urine and serum 
Journal of proteome research  2013;13(2):875-882.
Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2) is a secreted, cancer-associated protein in many types of epithelial cancer cells. We developed a highly sensitive targeted mass spectrometric assay for quantification of AGR2 in urine and serum. Digested peptides from clinical samples were processed by PRISM (high pressure and high resolution separations coupled with intelligent selection and multiplexing), which incorporates high pH reversed-phase LC separations to fractionate and select target fractions for follow-on LC-SRM analyses. The PRISM-SRM assay for AGR2 showed a reproducibility of <10% CV and LOQ values of ~130 pg/mL in serum and ~10 pg per 100 μg total protein mass in urine, respectively. A good correlation (R2 = 0.91) was observed for the measurable AGR2 concentrations in urine between SRM and ELISA. Based on an initial cohort of 37 subjects, urinary AGR2/PSA concentration ratios showed a significant difference (P = 0.026) between non-cancer and cancer. Large clinical cohort studies are needed for the validation of AGR2 as a useful diagnostic biomarker for prostate cancer. Our work validated the approach of identifying candidate secreted protein biomarkers through genomics and measurement by targeted proteomics, especially for proteins where no immunoassays are available.
PMCID: PMC3975687  PMID: 24251762
AGR2; PSA; prostate cancer; PRISM-SRM; human urine; human serum
3.  High expression of AGR2 in lung cancer is predictive of poor survival 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:655.
Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2) is a protein disulfide isomerase-like protein widely expressed in many normal tissues as well as cancers. In our study, non-neoplastic bronchial epithelial cells as well as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells express AGR2 protein.
AGR2 expression was analyzed on lung tissue microarrays. Tumor staining was correlated with clinical outcomes.
On a lung cancer tissue microarray using immunohistochemistry, expression levels in cancer showed generally decreasing intensities in order from adenocarcinomas with mucinous components, other adenocarcinomas, squamous carcinomas, to large cell carcinomas. The study cohort was comprised of 400 cases. As a group, there was a slight trend of lower expression with increasing tumor grade. AGR2 expression level was a significant predictor of overall survival in younger patients only. Patients under 65 with lower levels showed a significantly better survival for both men and women. Patients over 65, in contrast, showed no such trend.
Nearly all NSCLC tumors show AGR2 expression. Lung cancer expression of AGR2 has prognostic value for younger patients.
PMCID: PMC4596313  PMID: 26445321
Lung cancer; AGR2; Survival
4.  Minimum Information Specification For In Situ Hybridization and Immunohistochemistry Experiments (MISFISHIE) 
Nature biotechnology  2008;26(3):305-312.
One purpose of the biomedical literature is to report results in sufficient detail so that the methods of data collection and analysis can be independently replicated and verified. Here we present for consideration a minimum information specification for gene expression localization experiments, called the “Minimum Information Specification For In Situ Hybridization and Immunohistochemistry Experiments (MISFISHIE)”. It is modelled after the MIAME (Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment) specification for microarray experiments. Data specifications like MIAME and MISFISHIE specify the information content without dictating a format for encoding that information. The MISFISHIE specification describes six types of information that should be provided for each experiment: Experimental Design, Biomaterials and Treatments, Reporters, Staining, Imaging Data, and Image Characterizations. This specification has benefited the consortium within which it was initially developed and is expected to benefit the wider research community. We welcome feedback from the scientific community to help improve our proposal.
PMCID: PMC4367930  PMID: 18327244
5.  Identification of secreted glycoproteins of human prostate and bladder stromal cells by comparative quantitative proteomics 
The Prostate  2009;69(1):49-61.
Functional development of the prostate is governed by stromal mesenchyme induction and epithelial response. Stromal/epithelial signaling can be mediated through direct cell-cell contact and diffusible factors and their cell surface receptors. These inducers are likely secreted or membrane-associated extracellular proteins. Given the importance of intercellular communication, it is possible that diseases like cancer could arise from a loss of this communication. One approach to gain a molecular understanding of stromal cells is to identify, as a first step, secreted stromal signaling factors. We proposed to do this by comparative analysis between bladder and prostate.
Secreted proteins were identified from cultured normal prostate and bladder stromal mesenchyme cells by glycopeptide-capture method followed by mass spectrometry. Differences in protein abundance between prostate and bladder were quantified from calculated peptide ion current area (PICA) followed by Western validation. Functional and pathway analyses of the proteins were carried out by Gene Ontology (GO) and Teranode software.
This analysis produced a list of 116 prostate and 84 bladder secreted glycoproteins with ProteinProphet probability scores ≥ 0.9. Stromal proteins upregulated in the prostate include cathepsin L, follistatin-related protein, neuroendocrine convertase, tumor necrosis factor receptor, and others that are known to be involved in signal transduction, extracellular matrix interaction, differentiation and transport.
We have identified a number of potential proteins for stromal signaling and bladder or prostate differentiation program. The prostate stromal/epithelial signaling may be accomplished through activation of the ECM-receptor interaction, complement and coagulation cascades, focal adhesion and cell adhesion pathways.
PMCID: PMC4281891  PMID: 18792917
bladder; prostate; stromal cells; secreted proteins
6.  Long-gradient separations coupled with selected reaction monitoring for highly sensitive, large scale targeted protein quantification in a single analysis 
Analytical chemistry  2013;85(19):10.1021/ac402105s.
Long-gradient separations coupled to tandem MS were recently demonstrated to provide a deep proteome coverage for global proteomics; however, such long-gradient separations have not been explored for targeted proteomics. Herein, we investigate the potential performance of the long-gradient separations coupled with selected reaction monitoring (LG-SRM) for targeted protein quantification. Direct comparison of LG-SRM (5 h gradient) and conventional LC-SRM (45 min gradient) showed that the long-gradient separations significantly reduced background interference levels and provided an 8- to 100-fold improvement in LOQ for target proteins in human female serum. Based on at least one surrogate peptide per protein, an LOQ of 10 ng/mL was achieved for the two spiked proteins in non-depleted human serum. The LG-SRM detection of seven out of eight endogenous plasma proteins expressed at ng/mL or sub-ng/mL levels in clinical patient sera was also demonstrated. A correlation coefficient of >0.99 was observed for the results of LG-SRM and ELISA measurements for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in selected patient sera. Further enhancement of LG-SRM sensitivity was achieved by applying front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion. Besides improved sensitivity, LG-SRM potentially offers much higher multiplexing capacity than conventional LC-SRM due to an increase in average peak widths (~3-fold) for a 300-min gradient compared to a 45-min gradient. Therefore, LG-SRM holds great potential for bridging the gap between global and targeted proteomics due to its advantages in both sensitivity and multiplexing capacity.
PMCID: PMC3839867  PMID: 24004026
long-gradient; targeted quantification; low-abundance protein; human serum; sensitivity; reproducibility
7.  Targeted quantification of low ng/mL level proteins in human serum without immunoaffinity depletion 
Journal of proteome research  2013;12(7):3353-3361.
We recently reported an antibody-free targeted protein quantification strategy, termed high-pressure, high-resolution separations with intelligent selection and multiplexing (PRISM) for achieving significantly enhanced sensitivity using selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry. Integrating PRISM with front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion, sensitive detection of targeted proteins at 50–100 pg/mL levels in human blood plasma/serum was demonstrated. However, immunoaffinity depletion is often associated with undesired losses of target proteins of interest. Herein we report further evaluation of PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance serum proteins without immunoaffinity depletion. Limits of quantification (LOQ) at low ng/mL levels with a median coefficient of variation (CV) of ~12% were achieved for proteins spiked into human female serum. PRISM-SRM provided >100-fold improvement in the LOQ when compared to conventional LC-SRM measurements. PRISM-SRM was then applied to measure several low-abundance endogenous serum proteins, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA), in clinical prostate cancer patient sera. PRISM-SRM enabled confident detection of all target endogenous serum proteins except the low pg/mL-level cardiac troponin T. A correlation coefficient >0.99 was observed for PSA between the results from PRISM-SRM and immunoassays. Our results demonstrate that PRISM-SRM can successful quantify low ng/mL proteins in human plasma or serum without depletion. We anticipate broad applications for PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance proteins in candidate biomarker verification and systems biology studies.
PMCID: PMC3733379  PMID: 23763644
SRM; PRISM; targeted quantification; low-abundance protein; human serum; sensitivity; reproducibility
8.  Embryonal carcinoma cell induction of miRNA and mRNA changes in co-cultured prostate stromal fibromuscular cells 
Journal of cellular physiology  2011;226(6):1479-1488.
The prostate stromal mesenchyme controls organ-specific development. In cancer, the stromal compartment shows altered gene expression compared to non-cancer. The lineage relationship between cancer-associated stromal cells and normal tissue stromal cells is not known. Nor is the cause underlying the expression difference. Previously, the embryonal carcinoma (EC) cell line, NCCIT, was used by us to study the stromal induction property. In the current study, stromal cells from non-cancer (NP) and cancer (CP) were isolated from tissue specimens and co-cultured with NCCIT cells in a trans-well format to preclude heterotypic cell contact. After 3 days, the stromal cells were analyzed by gene arrays for microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA expression. In co-culture, NCCIT cells were found to alter the miRNA and mRNA expression of NP stromal cells to one like that of CP stromal cells. In contrast, NCCIT had no significant effect on the gene expression of CP stromal cells. We conclude that the gene expression changes in stromal cells can be induced by diffusible factors synthesized by EC cells, and suggest that cancer-associated stromal cells represent a more primitive or less differentiated stromal cell type.
PMCID: PMC3968429  PMID: 20945389
9.  Prostate cancer cell phenotypes based on AGR2 and CD10 expression 
The combination of expression patterns of AGR2 and CD10 by prostate cancer provided four phenotypes that correlated with clinical outcome. Based on immunophenotyping, CD10lowAGR2high, CD10highAGR2high, CD10lowAGR2low, and CD10highAGR2low were distinguished. AGR2+ tumors were associated with longer recurrence-free survival and CD10+ tumors with shorter recurrence-free survival. In high-stage cases, the CD10lowAGR2high phenotype was associated with a 9-fold higher recurrence-free survival than the CD10highAGR2low phenotype. The CD10highAGR2high and CD10lowAGR2low phenotypes were intermediate. The CD10highAGR2low phenotype was most frequent in high-grade primary tumors. Conversely, bone and other soft tissue metastases, and derivative xenografts, expressed more AGR2 and less CD10. AGR2 protein was readily detected in tumor metastases. The CD10highAGR2low phenotype in primary tumors is predictive of poor outcome; however, the CD10lowAGR2high phenotype is more common in metastases. It appears that AGR2 has a protective function in primary tumors but may have a role in the distal spread of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3638070  PMID: 23348903
Prostate cancer; AGR2; CD10; cancer cell phenotypes; patient stratification; bone and soft tissue metastases; xenografts
10.  Bladder expression of CD cell surface antigens and cell-type-specific transcriptomes 
Cell and Tissue Research  2012;348(3):589-600.
Many cell types have no known functional attributes. In the bladder and prostate, basal epithelial and stromal cells appear similar in cytomorphology and share several cell surface markers. Their total gene expression (transcriptome) should provide a clear measure of the extent to which they are alike functionally. Since urologic stromal cells are known to mediate organ-specific tissue formation, these cells in cancers might exhibit aberrant gene expression affecting their function. For transcriptomes, cluster designation (CD) antigens have been identified for cell sorting. The sorted cell populations can be analyzed by DNA microarrays. Various bladder cell types have unique complements of CD molecules. CD9+ urothelial, CD104+ basal and CD13+ stromal cells of the lamina propria were therefore analyzed, as were CD9+ cancer and CD13+ cancer-associated stromal cells. The transcriptome datasets were compared by principal components analysis for relatedness between cell types; those with similarity in gene expression indicated similar function. Although bladder and prostate basal cells shared CD markers such as CD104, CD44 and CD49f, they differed in overall gene expression. Basal cells also lacked stem cell gene expression. The bladder luminal and stromal transcriptomes were distinct from their prostate counterparts. In bladder cancer, not only the urothelial but also the stromal cells showed gene expression alteration. The cancer process in both might thus involve defective stromal signaling. These cell-type transcriptomes provide a means to monitor in vitro models in which various CD-isolated cell types can be combined to study bladder differentiation and bladder tumor development based on cell-cell interaction.
PMCID: PMC3367057  PMID: 22427119
Bladder cell; CD phenotypes; Cell transcriptomes; Bladder cancer; Gene expression; Cancer-associated stromal cells
11.  Detection and Verification of Glycosylation Patterns of Glycoproteins from Clinical Specimens Using Lectin Microarrays and Lectin-based Immunosorbent Assays 
Analytical Chemistry  2011;83(22):8509-8516.
Aberrant glycosylation is a fundamental characteristic of progression of diseases such as cancer. Therefore, characterization of glycosylation patterns of proteins from disease tissues may identify changes specific to the disease development and improve diagnostic performance. Thus, analysis strategies with sufficient sensitivity for evaluation of glycosylation patterns in clinical specimens are needed. Here, we describe an analytical strategy for detection and verification of glycosylation patterns. It is based on a two-phase platform including a pattern discovery phase to identify the glycosylation changes using high-density lectin microarrays and a verification phase by developing lectin-based immunosorbent assays using the identified lectins. We evaluated the analytical performance of the platform using the glycoprotein standard, and found that the lectin microarray could detect specific bindings of glycoprotein to lectins at the nanogram level and the lectin-based immunosorbent assay could be used for verification of protein glycosylation. We then applied the approach to the analysis of glycosylation patterns of two glycoproteins, which are highly expressed in prostate cancer in our prior studies, PSA and membrane metallo-endopeptidase (MME), from aggressive (AC) and non-aggressive prostate cancer (NAC) tissues. The observed differences in glycosylation patterns of PSA and MME may represent significant clinical importance, and could used to develop multiplex assays for diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3258529  PMID: 21975078
12.  A Multiplex Assay to Measure RNA Transcripts of Prostate Cancer in Urine 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45656.
The serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has a high false positive rate. As a single marker, PSA provides limited diagnostic information. A multi-marker test capable of detecting not only tumors but also the potentially lethal ones provides an unmet clinical need. Using the nanoString nCounter gene expression system, a 20-gene multiplex test was developed based on digital gene counting of RNA transcripts in urine as a means to detect prostate cancer. In this test, voided urine is centrifuged to pellet cells and the purified RNA is amplified for hybridization to preselected probesets. Amplification of test cell line RNA appeared not to introduce significant bias, and the counts matched well with gene abundance levels as measured by DNA microarrays. For data analysis, the individual counts were compared to that of β2 microglobulin, a housekeeping gene. Urine samples of 5 pre-operative cases and 2 non-cancer were analyzed. Pathology information was then retrieved. Signals for a majority of the genes were low for non-cancer and low Gleason scores, and 6/6 known prostate cancer markers were positive in the cases. One case of Gleason 4+5 showed, in contrast, strong signals for all cancer-associated markers, including CD24. One non-cancer also showed signals for all 6 cancer markers, and this man might harbor an undiagnosed cancer. This multiplex test assaying a natural waste product can potentially be used for screening, early cancer detection and patient stratification. Diagnostic information is gained from the RNA signatures that are associated with cell types of prostate tumors.
PMCID: PMC3447789  PMID: 23029164
13.  Lineage relationship of prostate cancer cell types based on gene expression 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:46.
Prostate tumor heterogeneity is a major factor in disease management. Heterogeneity could be due to multiple cancer cell types with distinct gene expression. Of clinical importance is the so-called cancer stem cell type. Cell type-specific transcriptomes are used to examine lineage relationship among cancer cell types and their expression similarity to normal cell types including stem/progenitor cells.
Transcriptomes were determined by Affymetrix DNA array analysis for the following cell types. Putative prostate progenitor cell populations were characterized and isolated by expression of the membrane transporter ABCG2. Stem cells were represented by embryonic stem and embryonal carcinoma cells. The cancer cell types were Gleason pattern 3 (glandular histomorphology) and pattern 4 (aglandular) sorted from primary tumors, cultured prostate cancer cell lines originally established from metastatic lesions, xenografts LuCaP 35 (adenocarcinoma phenotype) and LuCaP 49 (neuroendocrine/small cell carcinoma) grown in mice. No detectable gene expression differences were detected among serial passages of the LuCaP xenografts.
Based on transcriptomes, the different cancer cell types could be clustered into a luminal-like grouping and a non-luminal-like (also not basal-like) grouping. The non-luminal-like types showed expression more similar to that of stem/progenitor cells than the luminal-like types. However, none showed expression of stem cell genes known to maintain stemness.
Non-luminal-like types are all representatives of aggressive disease, and this could be attributed to the similarity in overall gene expression to stem and progenitor cell types.
PMCID: PMC3113924  PMID: 21605402
14.  CD90/THY1 is over-expressed in prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts and could serve as a cancer biomarker 
A by-product in the processing of prostate tissue for cell sorting by collagenase digestion is the media supernatant that remains after the cells are harvested. These supernatants contain proteins made by the cells within the tissue. Quantitative proteomic analysis of N-glycosylated proteins detected an increased amount of CD90/THY1 in cancer supernatants compared to non-cancer supernatants. Immunohistochemistry showed that in all carcinomas, regardless of Gleason grade, a layer of CD90-positive stromal fibroblastic cells, approximately 5-to-10 cells deep, was localized to tumor glands. In contrast, a no more than 1-cell wide girth of CD90-positive stromal cells was found around benign glands. The increased number of CD90-positive stromal cells in cancer correlated with overexpression of CD90 mRNA detected by gene expression analysis of stromal cells obtained by laser-capture microdissection. There is increasing evidence that cancer-associated stroma plays a role in both tumor progression and carcinogenesis. Most experiments to identify cancer biomarkers have focused on the cancer cells. CD90, being a marker for prostate cancer-associated stroma, might be a potential biomarker for this cancer. A non-invasive test could be provided by a urine test. Proteomic analysis of urine from patients with prostate cancer identified CD90; conversely, CD90 was not detected in the urine of post-prostatectomy patients. Furthermore, this urinary CD90 protein was a variant CD90 protein not known to be expressed by such cells as lymphocytes that express CD90. These CD90 results were obtained from ∼90 cases consisting of proteomic analysis of tissue and urine, immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis of tissue media, flow cytometry of cells from digested tissue, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis of isolated stromal cells.
PMCID: PMC2948633  PMID: 20562849
prostate; cancer; CD90 variant; stroma; proteomics; glycoproteins; urine analysis
15.  Differential Inductive Signaling of CD90+ Prostate Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts Compared to Normal Tissue Stromal Mesenchyme Cells 
Cancer Microenvironment  2011;4(1):51-59.
Prostate carcinomas are surrounded by a layer of stromal fibroblastic cells that are characterized by increased expression of CD90. These CD90+ cancer-associated stromal fibroblastic cells differ in gene expression from their normal counterpart, CD49a+CD90lo stromal smooth muscle cells; and were postulated to represent a less differentiated cell type with altered inductive properties. CD90+ stromal cells were isolated from tumor tissue specimens and co-cultured with the pluripotent embryonal carcinoma cell line NCCIT in order to elucidate the impact of tumor-associated stroma on stem cells, and the ‘cancer stem cell.’ Transcriptome analysis identified a notable decreased induction of smooth muscle and prostate stromal genes such as PENK, BMP2 and ChGn compared to previously determined NCCIT response to normal prostate stromal cell induction. CD90+ stromal cell secreted factors induced an increased expression of CD90 and differential induction of genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and the RECK pathway in NCCIT. These results suggest that, compared to normal tissue stromal cells, signaling from cancer-associated stromal cells has a markedly different effect on stem cells as represented by NCCIT. Given that stromal cells are important in directing organ-specific differentiation, stromal cells in tumors appear to be defective in this function, which may contribute to abnormal differentiation found in diseases such as cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12307-010-0061-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3047627  PMID: 21505567
Prostate; Prostate cancer; Cancer stem cell; Tumor-associated stroma; Reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK)
16.  Differential Inductive Signaling of CD90+ Prostate Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts Compared to Normal Tissue Stromal Mesenchyme Cells 
Cancer Microenvironment  2011;4(1):51-59.
Prostate carcinomas are surrounded by a layer of stromal fibroblastic cells that are characterized by increased expression of CD90. These CD90+ cancer-associated stromal fibroblastic cells differ in gene expression from their normal counterpart, CD49a+CD90lo stromal smooth muscle cells; and were postulated to represent a less differentiated cell type with altered inductive properties. CD90+ stromal cells were isolated from tumor tissue specimens and co-cultured with the pluripotent embryonal carcinoma cell line NCCIT in order to elucidate the impact of tumor-associated stroma on stem cells, and the ‘cancer stem cell.’ Transcriptome analysis identified a notable decreased induction of smooth muscle and prostate stromal genes such as PENK, BMP2 and ChGn compared to previously determined NCCIT response to normal prostate stromal cell induction. CD90+ stromal cell secreted factors induced an increased expression of CD90 and differential induction of genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling and the RECK pathway in NCCIT. These results suggest that, compared to normal tissue stromal cells, signaling from cancer-associated stromal cells has a markedly different effect on stem cells as represented by NCCIT. Given that stromal cells are important in directing organ-specific differentiation, stromal cells in tumors appear to be defective in this function, which may contribute to abnormal differentiation found in diseases such as cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12307-010-0061-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3047627  PMID: 21505567
Prostate; Prostate cancer; Cancer stem cell; Tumor-associated stroma; Reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK)
17.  Differential expression of anterior gradient gene AGR2 in prostate cancer 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:680.
The protein AGR2 is a putative member of the protein disulfide isomerase family and was first identified as a homolog of the Xenopus laevis gene XAG-2. AGR2 has been implicated in a number of human cancers. In particular, AGR2 has previously been found to be one of several genes that encode secreted proteins showing increased expression in prostate cancer cells compared to normal prostatic epithelium.
Gene expression levels of AGR2 were examined in prostate cancer cells by microarray analysis. We further examined the relationship of AGR2 protein expression to histopathology and prostate cancer outcome on a population basis using tissue microarray technology.
At the RNA and protein level, there was an increase in AGR2 expression in adenocarcinoma of the prostate compared to morphologically normal prostatic glandular epithelium. Using a tissue microarray, this enhanced AGR2 expression was seen as early as premalignant PIN lesions. Interestingly, within adenocarcinoma samples, there was a slight trend toward lower levels of AGR2 with increasing Gleason score. Consistent with this, relatively lower levels of AGR2 were highly predictive of disease recurrence in patients who had originally presented with high-stage primary prostate cancer (P = 0.009).
We have shown for the first time that despite an increase in AGR2 expression in prostate cancer compared to non-malignant cells, relatively lower levels of AGR2 are highly predictive of disease recurrence following radical prostatectomy.
PMCID: PMC3009682  PMID: 21144054
18.  Gene expression relationship between prostate cancer cells of Gleason 3, 4 and normal epithelial cells as revealed by cell type-specific transcriptomes 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:452.
Prostate cancer cells in primary tumors have been typed CD10-/CD13-/CD24hi/CD26+/CD38lo/CD44-/CD104-. This CD phenotype suggests a lineage relationship between cancer cells and luminal cells. The Gleason grade of tumors is a descriptive of tumor glandular differentiation. Higher Gleason scores are associated with treatment failure.
CD26+ cancer cells were isolated from Gleason 3+3 (G3) and Gleason 4+4 (G4) tumors by cell sorting, and their gene expression or transcriptome was determined by Affymetrix DNA array analysis. Dataset analysis was used to determine gene expression similarities and differences between G3 and G4 as well as to prostate cancer cell lines and histologically normal prostate luminal cells.
The G3 and G4 transcriptomes were compared to those of prostatic cell types of non-cancer, which included luminal, basal, stromal fibromuscular, and endothelial. A principal components analysis of the various transcriptome datasets indicated a closer relationship between luminal and G3 than luminal and G4. Dataset comparison also showed that the cancer transcriptomes differed substantially from those of prostate cancer cell lines.
Genes differentially expressed in cancer are potential biomarkers for cancer detection, and those differentially expressed between G3 and G4 are potential biomarkers for disease stratification given that G4 cancer is associated with poor outcomes. Differentially expressed genes likely contribute to the prostate cancer phenotype and constitute the signatures of these particular cancer cell types.
PMCID: PMC2809079  PMID: 20021671
19.  Gene expression down-regulation in CD90+ prostate tumor-associated stromal cells involves potential organ-specific genes 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:317.
The prostate stroma is a key mediator of epithelial differentiation and development, and potentially plays a role in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer. The tumor-associated stroma is marked by increased expression of CD90/THY1. Isolation and characterization of these stromal cells could provide valuable insight into the biology of the tumor microenvironment.
Prostate CD90+ stromal fibromuscular cells from tumor specimens were isolated by cell-sorting and analyzed by DNA microarray. Dataset analysis was used to compare gene expression between histologically normal and tumor-associated stromal cells. For comparison, stromal cells were also isolated and analyzed from the urinary bladder.
The tumor-associated stromal cells were found to have decreased expression of genes involved in smooth muscle differentiation, and those detected in prostate but not bladder. Other differential expression between the stromal cell types included that of the CXC-chemokine genes.
CD90+ prostate tumor-associated stromal cells differed from their normal counterpart in expression of multiple genes, some of which are potentially involved in organ development.
PMCID: PMC2745432  PMID: 19737398
20.  Correlation of mRNA and protein levels: Cell type-specific gene expression of cluster designation antigens in the prostate 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:246.
Expression levels of mRNA and protein by cell types exhibit a range of correlations for different genes. In this study, we compared levels of mRNA abundance for several cluster designation (CD) genes determined by gene arrays using magnetic sorted and laser-capture microdissected human prostate cells with levels of expression of the respective CD proteins determined by immunohistochemical staining in the major cell types of the prostate – basal epithelial, luminal epithelial, stromal fibromuscular, and endothelial – and for prostate precursor/stem cells and prostate carcinoma cells. Immunohistochemical stains of prostate tissues from more than 50 patients were scored for informative CD antigen expression and compared with cell-type specific transcriptomes.
Concordance between gene and protein expression findings based on 'present' vs. 'absent' calls ranged from 46 to 68%. Correlation of expression levels was poor to moderate (Pearson correlations ranged from 0 to 0.63). Divergence between the two data types was most frequently seen for genes whose array signals exceeded background (> 50) but lacked immunoreactivity by immunostaining. This could be due to multiple factors, e.g. low levels of protein expression, technological sensitivities, sample processing, probe set definition or anatomical origin of tissue and actual biological differences between transcript and protein abundance.
Agreement between these two very different methodologies has great implications for their respective use in both molecular studies and clinical trials employing molecular biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC2413246  PMID: 18501003
21.  The urologic epithelial stem cell database (UESC) – a web tool for cell type-specific gene expression and immunohistochemistry images of the prostate and bladder 
BMC Urology  2007;7:19.
Public databases are crucial for analysis of high-dimensional gene and protein expression data. The Urologic Epithelial Stem Cells (UESC) database is a public database that contains gene and protein information for the major cell types of the prostate, prostate cancer cell lines, and a cancer cell type isolated from a primary tumor. Similarly, such information is available for urinary bladder cell types.
Two major data types were archived in the database, protein abundance localization data from immunohistochemistry images, and transcript abundance data principally from DNA microarray analysis. Data results were organized in modules that were made to operate independently but built upon a core functionality. Gene array data and immunostaining images for human and mouse prostate and bladder were made available for interrogation. Data analysis capabilities include: (1) CD (cluster designation) cell surface protein data. For each cluster designation molecule, a data summary allows easy retrieval of images (at multiple magnifications). (2) Microarray data. Single gene or batch search can be initiated with Affymetrix Probeset ID, Gene Name, or Accession Number together with options of coalescing probesets and/or replicates.
Databases are invaluable for biomedical research, and their utility depends on data quality and user friendliness. UESC provides for database queries and tools to examine cell type-specific gene expression (normal vs. cancer), whereas most other databases contain only whole tissue expression datasets. The UESC database provides a valuable tool in the analysis of differential gene expression in prostate cancer genes in cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC2231381  PMID: 18072977
22.  Molecular and cellular characterization of ABCG2 in the prostate 
BMC Urology  2007;7:6.
Identification and characterization of the prostate stem cell is important for understanding normal prostate development and carcinogenesis. The flow cytometry-based side population (SP) technique has been developed to isolate putative adult stem cells in several human tissue types including the prostate. This phenotype is mainly mediated by the ATP-binding cassette membrane transporter ABCG2.
Immunolocalization of ABCG2 was performed on normal prostate tissue obtained from radical prostatectomies. Normal human prostate SP cells and ABCG2+ cells were isolated and gene expression was determined with DNA array analysis and RT-PCR. Endothelial cells were removed by pre-sorting with CD31.
ABCG2 positive cells were localized to the prostate basal epithelium and endothelium. ABCG2+ cells in the basal epithelium constituted less than 1% of the total basal cell population. SP cells constituted 0.5–3% of the total epithelial fraction. The SP transcriptome was essentially the same as ABCG2+ and both populations expressed genes indicative of a stem cell phenotype, however, the cells also expressed many genes in common with endothelial cells.
These results provide gene expression profiles for the prostate SP and ABCG2+ cells that will be critical for studying normal development and carcinogenesis, in particular as related to the cancer stem cell concept.
PMCID: PMC1853103  PMID: 17425799
23.  Differential expression of CD10 in prostate cancer and its clinical implication 
BMC Urology  2007;7:3.
CD10 is a transmembrane metallo-endopeptidase that cleaves and inactivates a variety of peptide growth factors. Loss of CD10 expression is a common, early event in human prostate cancer; however, CD10 positive cancer cells frequently appear in lymph node metastasis. We hypothesize that prostate tumors expressing high levels of CD10 have a more aggressive biology with an early propensity towards lymph node metastasis.
Eighty-seven patients, 53 with and 34 without pathologically organ confined prostate cancer at the time of radical prostatectomy (RP), were used for the study. Fourteen patients with lymph node metastasis found at the time of surgery were identified and included in this study. Serial sections from available frozen tumor specimens in OCT were processed for CD10 immunohistochemistry. Cancer glands were graded for the presence and intensity of CD10 staining, and overall percentage of glands staining positive was estimated. Clinical characteristics including pre- and post-operative PSA and Gleason score were obtained. A similar study as a control for the statistical analysis was performed with CD13 staining. For statistical analysis, strong staining was defined as > 20% positivity based on the observed maximum separation of the cumulative distributions.
CD10 expression significantly correlated with Gleason grade, tumor stage, and with pre-operative serum PSA. Seventy percent of RP specimens from patients with node metastasis showed strong staining for CD10, compared to 30% in the entire cohort (OR = 3.4, 95% CI: 1.08–10.75, P = 0.019). Increased staining for CD10 was associated with PSA recurrence after RP. CD13 staining did not correlate significantly with any of these same clinical parameters.
These results suggest that the expression of CD10 by prostate cancer corresponds to a more aggressive phenotype with a higher malignant potential, described histologically by the Gleason score. CD10 offers potential clinical utility for stratifying prostate cancer to predict biological behavior of the tumor.
PMCID: PMC1829163  PMID: 17335564
24.  Transcriptomes of human prostate cells 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:92.
The gene expression profiles of most human tissues have been studied by determining the transcriptome of whole tissue homogenates. Due to the solid composition of tissues it is difficult to study the transcriptomes of individual cell types that compose a tissue. To overcome the problem of heterogeneity we have developed a method to isolate individual cell types from whole tissue that are a source of RNA suitable for transcriptome profiling.
Using monoclonal antibodies specific for basal (integrin β4), luminal secretory (dipeptidyl peptidase IV), stromal fibromuscular (integrin α 1), and endothelial (PECAM-1) cells, respectively, we separated the cell types of the prostate with magnetic cell sorting (MACS). Gene expression of MACS-sorted cell populations was assessed with Affymetrix GeneChips. Analysis of the data provided insight into gene expression patterns at the level of individual cell populations in the prostate.
In this study, we have determined the transcriptome profile of a solid tissue at the level of individual cell types. Our data will be useful for studying prostate development and cancer progression in the context of single cell populations within the organ.
PMCID: PMC1553448  PMID: 16638148
25.  Stromal mesenchyme cell genes of the human prostate and bladder 
BMC Urology  2005;5:17.
Stromal mesenchyme cells play an important role in epithelial differentiation and likely in cancer as well. Induction of epithelial differentiation is organ-specific, and the genes responsible could be identified through a comparative genomic analysis of the stromal cells from two different organs. These genes might be aberrantly expressed in cancer since cancer could be viewed as due to a defect in stromal signaling. We propose to identify the prostate stromal genes by analysis of differentially expressed genes between prostate and bladder stromal cells, and to examine their expression in prostate cancer.
Immunohistochemistry using antibodies to cluster designation (CD) cell surface antigens was first used to characterize the stromas of the prostate and bladder. Stromal cells were prepared from either prostate or bladder tissue for cell culture. RNA was isolated from the cultured cells and analyzed by DNA microarrays. Expression of candidate genes in normal prostate and prostate cancer was examined by RT-PCR.
The bladder stroma was phenotypically different from that of the prostate. Most notable was the presence of a layer of CD13+ cells adjacent to the urothelium. This structural feature was also seen in the mouse bladder. The prostate stroma was uniformly CD13-. A number of differentially expressed genes between prostate and bladder stromal cells were identified. One prostate gene, proenkephalin (PENK), was of interest because it encodes a hormone. Secreted proteins such as hormones and bioactive peptides are known to mediate cell-cell signaling. Prostate stromal expression of PENK was verified by an antibody raised against a PENK peptide, by RT-PCR analysis of laser-capture microdissected stromal cells, and by database analysis. Gene expression analysis showed that PENK expression was down-regulated in prostate cancer.
Our findings show that the histologically similar stromas of the prostate and bladder are phenotypically different, and express organ-specific genes. The importance of these genes in epithelial development is suggested by their abnormal expression in cancer. Among the candidates is the hormone PENK and the down-regulation of PENK expression in cancer suggests a possible association with cancer development.
PMCID: PMC1327674  PMID: 16343351

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