Effective eradication of high-risk primary prostate cancer (HRPCa) could significantly decrease mortality from prostate cancer. However, the discovery of curative therapies for HRPCa is hampered by the lack of authentic preclinical models.
We improved upon tumorgraft models that have been shown to predict drug response in other cancer types by implanting thin, precision-cut slices of HRPCa under the renal capsule of immunodeficient mice. Tissue slice grafts (TSGs) from 6 cases of HRPCa were established in mice. Following androgen deprivation by castration, TSGs were recovered and the presence and phenotype of cancer cells were evaluated.
High-grade cancer in TSGs generated from HRPCa displayed characteristic Gleason patterns and biomarker expression. Response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) was as in humans, with some cases exhibiting complete pathologic regression and others showing resistance to castration. As in humans, ADT decreased cell proliferation and prostate-specific antigen expression in TSGs. Adverse pathological features of parent HRPCa were associated with lack of regression of cancer in corresponding TSGs after ADT. Castration-resistant cancer cells remaining in TSGs showed upregulated expression of androgen receptor target genes, as occurs in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in humans. Finally, a rare subset of castration-resistant cancer cells in TSGs underwent epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a process also observed in CRPC in humans.
Our study demonstrates the feasibility of generating TSGs from multiple patients and of generating a relatively large number of TSGs from the same HRPCa specimen with similar cell composition and histology among control and experimental samples in an in vivo setting. The authentic response of TSGs to ADT, which has been extensively characterized in humans, suggests that TSGs can serve as a surrogate model for clinical trials to achieve rapid and less expensive screening of therapeutics for HRPCa and primary CRPC.
Prostate cancer; Androgen deprivation therapy; Tumorgrafts
Prostate cancer continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in men around the world. The field of prostate cancer research continues to be hindered by the lack of relevant preclinical models to study tumorigenesis and to further development of effective prevention and therapeutic strategies. The Prostate Cancer Foundation held a Prostate Cancer Models Working Group (PCMWG) Summit on August 6th and 7th, 2007 to address these issues. The PCMWG reviewed the state of prostate cancer preclinical models and identified the current limitations of cell line, xenograft and genetically engineered mouse models that have hampered the transition of scientific findings from these models to human clinical trials. In addition the PCMWG identified administrative issues that inhibit the exchange of models and impede greater interactions between academic centers and these centers with industry. The PCMWG identified potential solutions for discovery bottlenecks that include: (1) insufficient number of models with insufficient molecular and biologic diversity to reflect human cancer, (2) a lack of understanding of the molecular events that define tumorigenesis, (3) a lack of tools for studying tumor–host interactions, (4) difficulty in accessing model systems across institutions, and (5) addressing why preclinical studies appear not to be predictive of human clinical trials. It should be possible to apply the knowledge gained molecular and epigenetic studies to develop new cell lines and models that mimic progressive and fatal prostate cancer and ultimately improve interventions.
mouse; genetically engineered; cell lines
Over 30% of primary prostate cancers contain a consensus deletion of an approximately 800 kb locus on chromosome 6q15.1. The MAP3K7 gene, which encodes TGF-β Activated Kinase-1 (Tak1), is a putative prostate tumor suppressor gene within this region whose precise function remains obscure. In this study, we investigated the role of Tak1 in human and murine prostate cancers. In 50 well-characterized human cancer specimens, we found that Tak1 expression was progressively lost with increasing Gleason grade, both within each cancer and across all cancers. In murine prostate stem cells and Tak1-deficient prostatic epithelial cells, Tak1 loss increased proliferation, migration, and invasion. When prostate stem cells attenuated for Tak1 were engrafted with fetal urogenital mesenchyme, the histopathology of the grafts reflected the natural history of prostate cancer leading from prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia to invasive carcinoma. In the grafts containing Tak1-suppressed prostate stem cells, p38 and JNK activity was attenuated and proliferation was increased. Together, our findings functionally validate the proposed tumor suppressor role of Tak1 in prostate cancer.
Tak1; Prostate cancer; Tumor suppressor; Tissue recombination; TGF-β
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are a valuable resource for discovery of epigenetic changes critical to cell type-specific differentiation. Although iPS cells have been generated from other terminally differentiated cells, the reprogramming of normal adult human basal prostatic epithelial (E-PZ) cells to a pluripotent state has not been reported. Here, we attempted to reprogram E-PZ cells by forced expression of Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4 using lentiviral vectors and obtained embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like colonies at a frequency of 0.01%. These E-PZ-iPS-like cells with normal karyotype gained expression of pluripotent genes typical of iPS cells (Tra-1-81, SSEA-3, Nanog, Sox2, and Oct4) and lost gene expression characteristic of basal prostatic epithelial cells (CK5, CK14, and p63). E-PZ-iPS-like cells demonstrated pluripotency by differentiating into ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal cells in vitro, although lack of teratoma formation in vivo and incomplete demethylation of pluripotency genes suggested only partial reprogramming. Importantly, E-PZ-iPS-like cells re-expressed basal epithelial cell markers (CD44, p63, MAO-A) in response to prostate-specific medium in spheroid culture. Androgen induced expression of androgen receptor (AR), and co-culture with rat urogenital sinus further induced expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a hallmark of secretory cells, suggesting that E-PZ-iPS-like cells have the capacity to differentiate into prostatic basal and secretory epithelial cells. Finally, when injected into mice, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed basal epithelial cell markers including CD44 and p63. When co-injected with rat urogenital mesenchyme, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed AR and expression of p63 and CD44 was repressed. DNA methylation profiling identified epigenetic changes in key pathways and genes involved in prostatic differentiation as E-PZ-iPS-like cells converted to differentiated AR- and PSA-expressing cells. Our results suggest that iPS-like cells derived from prostatic epithelial cells are pluripotent and capable of prostatic differentiation; therefore, provide a novel model for investigating epigenetic changes involved in prostate cell lineage specification.
Cancer-associated stroma contributes to the malignant behavior of adenocarcinomas of the prostate and other organs. CD90 is a marker of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and its expression is higher in prostate cancer stroma compared to normal tissue. Cultured prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) expressing high versus low levels of CD90 were analyzed for an MSC-like or tumor-promoting phenotype.
CD90hi and CD90lo cells were collected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Expression of genes associated with MSCs and/or tumor-promoting activities was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Effects of stromal cell co-culture or conditioned media were tested on BPH-1 epithelial cells.
The pattern of gene expression did not support the hypothesis that CD90hi cells were MSCs. However, CD90hi cells expressed higher levels of many genes associated with tumor promotion, including cytokines, angiogenic factors, hedgehog signaling components, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. Co-culture or conditioned medium from CD90hi cells increased CXCR4 expression in BPH-1 cells, at least in part due to TGF-β, and protected BPH-1 cells from apoptosis.
Our results suggest that the elevated expression of CD90 previously observed in the cancer-associated stroma of the human prostate is biologically significant. Although our results do not support the idea that CD90hi cells cultured from the cancer stroma are MSCs, our findings suggest that the phenotype of these cells is more tumor-promoting than that of cells expressing low CD90.
prostate cancer; stroma; CD90; mesenchymal stem cells
To obtain a comprehensive view of the transcriptional programs in prostatic stromal cells of different histological/pathological origin, we profiled 18 adult human stromal cell cultures from normal transition zone (TZ), normal peripheral zone (PZ), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer (CA) using cDNA microarrays. A hierarchical clustering analysis of 714 named unique genes whose expression varied at least threefold from the overall mean abundance in at least three samples in all 18 samples demonstrated that cells of different origin displayed distinct gene expression profiles. Many of the differentially expressed genes are involved in biological processes known to be important in the development of prostatic diseases including cell proliferation and apoptosis, cell adhesion, and immune response. Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) analysis identified genes that showed differential expression with statistical significance including 24 genes between cells from TZ versus BPH, 34 between BPH versus CA, and 101 between PZ versus CA. S100A4 and SULF1, the most up- and downregulated genes in BPH versus TZ, respectively, showed expression at the protein level consistent with microarray analysis. In addition, sulfatase assay showed that BPH cells have lower SULF1 activity compared to TZ cells. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis confirmed differential expression of ENPP2/autotoxin and six other genes between PZ versus CA, as well as differential expression of six genes between BPH versus CA. Our results support the hypothesis that prostatic stromal cells of different origin have unique transcriptional programs and point towards genes involved in actions of stromal cells in BPH and CA.
Most clinically approved biomarkers of cancer are glycoproteins, and those residing on the cell surface are of particular interest in biotherapeutics. We report a method for selective labeling, affinity enrichment, and identification of cell-surface glycoproteins. PC-3 cells and primary human prostate cancer tissue were treated with peracetylated N-azidoacetylgalactosamine, resulting in metabolic labeling of cell surface glycans with the azidosugar. We used mass spectrometry to identify over 70 cell surface glycoproteins and biochemically validated CD146 and integrin beta-4, both of which are known to promote metastatic behavior. These results establish cell-surface glycoproteomics as an effective technique for discovery of cancer biomarkers.
Metabolic labeling; Glycoproteomics; Prostate cancer; Azidosugar; Tissue slice cultures
Protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6), also called breast tumor kinase (BRK), is expressed in epithelial cells of various tissues including the prostate. Previously it was shown that PTK6 is localized to epithelial cell nuclei in normal prostate, but becomes cytoplasmic in human prostate tumors. PTK6 is also primarily cytoplasmic in the PC3 prostate adenocarcinoma cell line. Sequencing revealed expression of wild type full-length PTK6 transcripts in addition to an alternative transcript lacking exon 2 in PC3 cells. The alternative transcript encodes a 134 amino acid protein, referred to here as ALT-PTK6, which shares the first 77 amino acid residues including the SH3 domain with full length PTK6. RT-PCR was used to show that ALT-PTK6 is coexpressed with full length PTK6 in established human prostate and colon cell lines, as well as in primary cell lines derived from human prostate tissue and tumors. Although interaction between full-length PTK6 and ALT-PTK6 was not detected, ALT-PTK6 associates with the known PTK6 substrates Sam68 and β-catenin in GST pull-down assays. Coexpression of PTK6 and ALT-PTK6 led to suppression of PTK6 activity and reduced association of PTK6 with tyrosine phosphorylated proteins. While ALT-PTK6 alone did not influence β-catenin/TCF transcriptional activity in a luciferase reporter assay, it enhanced PTK6-mediated inhibition of β-catenin/TCF transcription by promoting PTK6 nuclear functions. Ectopic expression of ALT-PTK6 led to reduced expression of the β-catenin/TCF targets Cyclin D1 and c-Myc in PC3 cells. Expression of tetracycline-inducible ALT-PTK6 blocked the proliferation and colony formation of PC3 cells. Our findings suggest that ALT-PTK6 is able to negatively regulate growth and modulate PTK6 activity, protein-protein associations and/or subcellular localization. Fully understanding functions of ALT-PTK6 and its impact on PTK6 signaling will be critical for development of therapeutic strategies that target PTK6 in cancer.
Prostate cancer has been shown to undergo unique metabolic changes associated with neoplastic transformation, with associated changes in citrate, alanine, and lactate concentrations. 13C HR-MAS spectroscopy provides an opportunity to simultaneously investigate the metabolic pathways implicated in these changes by using 13C labeled substrates as metabolic probes. In this work, a method to reproducibly interrogate metabolism in prostate cancer cells in primary culture was developed using HR-MAS spectroscopy. Optimization of cell culture protocols, labeling parameters, harvesting, storage, and transfer was performed. Using [3-13C] pyruvate as a metabolic probe, 1H and 13C HR-MAS spectroscopy were used to quantify the net amount and fractional enrichment of several labeled metabolites that evolved in multiple cell samples from each of five different prostate cancers. Average enrichment across all cancers was 32.4±5.4% for [3-13C] alanine, 24.5±5.4% for [4-13C] glutamate, 9.1±2.5% for [3-13C] glutamate, 25.2±5.7% for [3-13C] aspartate, and 4.2±1.0% for [3-13C] lactate. Cell samples from the same parent population demonstrated reproducible fractional enrichments of alanine, glutamate, and aspartate to within 12%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. Furthermore, the cells produced a significant amount of [4-13C] glutamate, which supports the bioenergetic theory for prostate cancer. These methods will allow further characterization of metabolic properties of prostate cancer cells in the future.
Inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), a mitochondrial enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters including serotonin and norepinephrine, are commonly used to treat neurological conditions including depression. Recently, we and others identified high expression of MAOA in normal basal prostatic epithelium and high-grade primary prostate cancer (PCa). In contrast, MAOA is low in normal secretory prostatic epithelium and low-grade PCa. An irreversible inhibitor of MAOA, clorgyline, induced secretory differentiation in primary cultures of normal basal epithelial cells and high-grade PCa. Furthermore, clorgyline inhibited several oncogenic pathways in PCa cells, suggesting clinical value of MAOA inhibitors as a pro-differentiation and anti-oncogenic therapy for high-risk PCa. Here, we extended our studies to a model of advanced PCa, VCaP cells, which were derived from castration-resistant metastatic PCa and express a high level of MAOA.
Growth of VCaP cells in the presence or absence of clorgyline was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression changes in response to clorgyline were determined by microarray and validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Treatment with clorgyline in vitro inhibited growth and altered the transcriptional pattern of VCaP cells in a manner consistent with the pro-differentiation and anti-oncogenic effects seen in treated primary PCa cells. Src, beta-catenin, and MAPK oncogenic pathways, implicated in androgen-independent growth and metastasis, were significantly downregulated. Clorgyline treatment of mice bearing VCaP xenografts slowed tumor growth and induced transcriptome changes similar to those noted in vitro.
Our results support the possibility that anti-depressant drugs that target MAOA might find a new application in treating PCa.
Prostate cancer; Monoamine oxidase; Differentiation; Oncogenes; Androgen
The inability to predict clinical outcome of prostate cancer is a major impediment to effective treatment decisions and patient counseling. New markers of recurrence are needed to improve the accuracy of risk assessment and treatment of prostate cancer. Our previous studies identified a mismatch repair protein, PMS2, to be elevated in prostate cancer; here we investigate the prognostic potential of this marker. We hypothesized that the elevation of PMS2 would correlate with disease outcome.
Retrospective quantitative immunohistochemistry was performed to measure PMS2 in high grade cancers of 166 men treated by radical prostatectomy with a biochemical recurrence rate of 56%. Associations between PMS2 levels, pathological variables and biochemical recurrence over time were determined.
The mean level of PMS2 protein was consistently higher in both cancer-associated benign epithelium and cancer cells of patients who recurred, compared to non-recurrent patients. PMS2 was an independent predictor of time-to-recurrence in Cox multivariate analyses and significantly stratified patients based on outcome. PMS2 was able to improve the sensitivity of total percent Gleason 4/5 as a risk factor for recurrence in this cohort.
PMS2 protein levels were shown to be a predictor of time-to-recurrence after surgery. This study is the first to document that the elevation of a mismatch repair protein negatively correlates with prognosis and has implications in patient diagnosis and molecular profiling.
prostate cancer; clinical biomarker; mismatch repair; PMS2; risk factor
Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) expression is associated with high-grade prostate cancer. Immunohistochemistry showed that MAO-A is also expressed in the basal epithelial cells of normal prostate glands. Using cultured primary prostatic epithelial cells as a model, we showed that MAO-A prevents basal epithelial cells from differentiating into secretory cells. Under differentiation-promoting conditions, clorgyline, an irreversible MAO-A inhibitor, induced secretory cell-like morphology and repressed expression of cytokeratin 14, a basal cell marker. More importantly, clorgyline induced mRNA and protein expression of androgen receptor (AR), a hallmark of secretory epithelial cells. In clorgyline-treated cells, androgen induced luciferase activity controlled by the promoter of prostate-specific antigen, an AR target gene, in a dose-dependent manner. This activity was blocked by the AR antagonist Casodex, showing that AR is functional. In turn, androgen decreased MAO-A expression in clorgyline-treated, secretory-like cells. Our results demonstrated that cultured basal epithelial cells have the potential to differentiate into secretory cells, and that inhibition of MAO-A is a key factor in promoting this process. Increased expression of MAO-A in high-grade prostate cancer may be an important contributor to its de-differentiated phenotype, raising the possibility that MAO-A inhibition may restore differentiation and reverse the aggressive behavior of high-grade cancer.
monoamine oxidase A; secretory differentiation; clorgyline; prostatic epithelial cells; androgen receptor
Gleason grade 4/5 prostate cancer is a determinant for recurrence following radical prostatectomy. Monoamine oxidase-A is over expressed in grade 4/5 compared to grade 3 cancer. Monoamine oxidase-A is also expressed by normal basal cells and in vitro studies suggest that its function is to repress secretory differentiation. Therefore, monoamine oxidase-A in grade 4/5 cancer might reflect dedifferentiation to a basal cell-like phenotype. We investigated whether monoamine oxidase-A expression correlates with another basal cell protein, CD44, in high grade cancer and whether either is associated with an aggressive phenotype.
Materials and Methods
A total of 133 grade 4/5 archival cancers from a cohort previously used to evaluate the prognostic significance of histomorphological variables were scored for monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 immunohistochemical labeling. Spearman rank correlations of the proteins, and histomorphological and clinical variables were determined. The univariate and multivariate value of each variable as a determinant of biochemical recurrence was assessed by logistic regression.
Monoamine oxidase-A expression correlated with CD44. Neither was prognostic for biochemical recurrence. However, monoamine oxidase-A expression positively correlated with preoperative serum prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer.
Concurrent expression of monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 suggests that grade 4/5 cancer may be basal cell-like in nature, despite the absence of other classic basal cell biomarkers such as cytokeratins 5 and 14, and p63. The correlation of monoamine oxidase-A expression with prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer suggests that monoamine oxidase-A may contribute to growth of high grade cancer and that antidepressant drugs that target monoamine oxidase-A may have applications in treating prostate cancer.
prostate; monoamine oxidase; neoplasm recurrence, local; adenocarcinoma; CD44 protein, human
Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), a mitochondrial enzyme that degrades monoamines including neurotransmitters, is highly expressed in basal cells of the normal human prostatic epithelium and in poorly differentiated (Gleason grades 4 and 5), aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). Clorgyline, an MAO-A inhibitor, induces secretory differentiation of normal prostate cells. We examined the effects of clorgyline on the transcriptional program of epithelial cells cultured from high grade PCa (E-CA).
We systematically assessed gene expression changes induced by clorgyline in E-CA cells using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays. Genes differentially expressed in treated and control cells were identified by Significance Analysis of Microarrays. Expression of genes of interest was validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
The expression of 156 genes was significantly increased by clorgyline at all time points over the time course of 6 – 96 hr identified by Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM). The list is enriched with genes repressed in 7 of 12 oncogenic pathway signatures compiled from the literature. In addition, genes downregulated ≥ 2-fold by clorgyline were significantly enriched with those upregulated by key oncogenes including beta-catenin and ERBB2, indicating an anti-oncogenic effect of clorgyline. Another striking effect of clorgyline was the induction of androgen receptor (AR) and classic AR target genes such as prostate-specific antigen together with other secretory epithelial cell-specific genes, suggesting that clorgyline promotes differentiation of cancer cells. Moreover, clorgyline downregulated EZH2, a critical component of the Polycomb Group (PcG) complex that represses the expression of differentiation-related genes. Indeed, many genes in the PcG repression signature that predicts PCa outcome were upregulated by clorgyline, suggesting that the differentiation-promoting effect of clorgyline may be mediated by its downregulation of EZH2.
Our results suggest that inhibitors of MAO-A, already in clinical use to treat depression, may have potential application as therapeutic PCa drugs by inhibiting oncogenic pathway activity and promoting differentiation.
Angiogenesis is critical in the progression of prostate cancer. However, the interplay between the proliferation kinetics of tumor endothelial cells (angiogenesis) and tumor cells has not been investigated. Also, protein kinase C (PKC) regulates various aspects of tumor cell growth but its role in prostate cancer has not been investigated in detail. Here, we found that the proliferation rates of endothelial and tumor cells oscillate asynchronously during the growth of human prostate cancer xenografts. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that PKCβII was activated during increased angiogenesis and that PKCβII plays a key role in the proliferation of endothelial cells and tumor cells in human prostate cancer; treatment with a PKCβII-selective inhibitor, βIIV5-3, reduced angiogenesis and tumor cell proliferation. We also find a unique effect of PKCβII inhibition on normalizing pericentrin (a protein regulating cytokinesis), especially in endothelial cells as well as in tumor cells. PKCβII inhibition reduced the level and mislocalization of pericentrin and normalized microtubule organization in the tumor endothelial cells. Although pericentrin has been known to be upregulated in epithelial cells of prostate cancers, its level in tumor endothelium has not been studied in detail. We found that pericentrin is upregulated in human tumor endothelium compared with endothelium adjacent to normal glands in tissues from prostate cancer patients. Our results suggest that a PKCβII inhibitor such as βIIV5-3 may be used to reduce prostate cancer growth by targeting both angiogenesis and tumor cell growth.
NGEP (New Gene Expressed in Prostate) is a prostate specific polytopic membrane protein found at high concentrations at cell:cell contact regions. To determine if NGEP is a useful target for antibody based therapy of prostate cancer we performed an immunohistochemical analysis of 126 human prostate carcinoma samples using a polyclonal anti-NGEP sera and found that 91% of the cancers express NGEP protein. To elucidate the topology of NGEP and guide the development of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) reacting with the extracellular regions of NGEP, an HA epitope tag was inserted at several positions within the NGEP sequence. The tagged proteins were expressed in 293T cells and locations of the tags were determined by immunofluorescence in intact or permeabilized cells. The results indicate that NGEP contains 8 transmembrane ™ domains with both the N-and C-termini of NGEP located inside the cell. We produced MAb to three regions that are predicted to be intracellular based on the epitope tag data (a.a. 1–352, 441–501 and 868–933) and as predicted the MAb only detected the protein in permeabilized cells. NGEP is a glycoprotein with predicted glycosylation sites at N809 and N824. When these residues were converted to glutamine, glycosylation was abolished confirming the residues are extracellular. Our findings on the expression and the orientation of the NGEP protein serve as an important framework for the development of MAb targeting the extracellular regions of NGEP that could be used for prostate cancer immunotherapy.
prostate cancer; immunotherapy; plasma membrane protein; TMEM16E; N-glycosylation