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Levina E.,University of South Carolina | Ji H.,University of South Carolina | Chen M.,University of South Carolina | Baig M.,Albany Research Center | And 10 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Prostate cancer progression to castration refractory disease is associated with anomalous transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor (AR) in an androgendepleted milieu. To identify novel gene products whose downregulation transactivates AR in prostate cancer cells, we performed a screen of enzymatically-generated shRNA lenti-libraries selecting for transduced LNCaP cells with elevated expression of a fluorescent reporter gene under the control of an AR-responsive promoter. The shRNAs present in selected populations were analyzed using high-throughput sequencing to identify target genes. Highly enriched gene targets were then validated with siRNAs against selected genes, testing first for increased expression of luciferase from an AR-responsive promoter and then for altered expression of endogenous androgenregulated genes in LNCaP cells. We identified 20 human genes whose silencing affected the expression of exogenous and endogenous androgen-responsive genes in prostate cancer cells grown in androgen-depleted medium. Knockdown of four of these genes upregulated the expression of endogenous AR targets and siRNAs targeting two of these genes (IGSF8 and RTN1) enabled androgen-independent proliferation of androgen-dependent cells. The effects of IGSF8 appear to be mediated through its interaction with a tetraspanin protein, CD9, previously implicated in prostate cancer progression. Remarkably, homozygous deletions of IGSF8 are found almost exclusively in prostate cancers but not in other cancer types. Our study shows that androgen independence can be achieved through the inhibition of specific genes and reveals a novel set of genes that regulate AR signaling in prostate cancers.

Dryhurst D.,University of Victoria | Dryhurst D.,Immno Precise Antibodies Ltd. | McMullen B.,University of Victoria | Fazli L.,The Vancouver Prostate Center | And 3 more authors.
Cancer Letters | Year: 2012

The histone variant H2A.Z is present at many eukaryotic gene regulatory regions and can affect rates of transcription. Here we show that total H2A.Z and an acetylated form of H2A.Z is mainly present at the prostate specific antigen (PSA) enhancer and promoter in prostate cancer cell lines where the gene is expressed, but the levels decrease during rapid cycles of transcription. Treatment of prostate cancer cells with androgen results in increased H2A.Z levels due to upregulation of the H2A.Z-1, but not the H2A.Z-2 gene. This upregulation is likely the result of increased MYC transcription factor binding that occurs in response to androgen at the H2A.Z-1 promoter. Furthermore, we show that in a LNCaP xenograft model of prostate cancer progression, there is a significant increase of H2A.Z protein in castration resistant LNCaP tumors resulting from increased expression of the H2A.Z-1 gene. While a similar trend was observed in samples from prostate cancer patients, the results were not statistically significant. Nevertheless, there may be a subset of prostate cancers where elevated expression of H2A.Z-1 is indicative of prostate cancer progression to androgen independence. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Crea F.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Watahiki A.,Cancer Agency Cancer Research Center | Watahiki A.,The Vancouver Prostate Center | Quagliata L.,University of Basel | And 16 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) is still an incurable disease. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may be an overlooked source of cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets. We therefore performed RNA sequencing on paired metastatic/nonmetastatic PCa xenografts derived from clinical specimens. The most highly upregulated transcript was LOC728606, a lncRNA now designated PCAT18. PCAT18 is specifically expressed in the prostate compared to 11 other normal tissues (p<0.05) and up-regulated in PCa compared to 15 other neoplasms (p<0.001). Cancer-specific up-regulation of PCAT18 was confirmed on an independent dataset of PCa and benign prostatic hyperplasia samples (p<0.001). PCAT18 was detectable in plasma samples and increased incrementally from healthy individuals to those with localized and metastatic PCa (p<0.01). We identified a PCAT18-associated expression signature (PES), which is highly PCa-specific and activated in metastatic vs. primary PCa samples (p<1E-4, odds ratio >2). The PES was significantly associated with androgen receptor (AR) signalling. Accordingly, AR activation dramatically up-regulated PCAT18 expression in vitro and in vivo. PCAT18 silencing significantly (p<0.001) inhibited PCa cell proliferation and triggered caspase 3/7 activation, with no effect on nonneoplastic cells. PCAT18 silencing also inhibited PCa cell migration (p<0.01) and invasion (p<0.01). These results position PCAT18 as a potential therapeutic target and biomarker for metastatic PCa.

Choi S.Y.C.,BC Cancer Agency | Gout P.W.,BC Cancer Agency | Collins C.C.,University of British Columbia | Collins C.C.,The Vancouver Prostate Center | And 3 more authors.
Differentiation | Year: 2012

The immune system plays a key role in eliminating cancer cells in the body. However, even in fully immune-competent bodies cancers can evade anti-tumor immune action. There is increasing evidence that epithelial cancers can . actively suppress anti-tumor immune responses by creating an immune-suppressive micro-environment. It has been reported that epithelial cancers can express immune genes/proteins not normally expressed by their parental tissues, including a variety of cytokines/receptors, immune transcription factors and Ig motifs in cell surface molecules. Recently we observed increased expression of immune genes, including immune-suppressive genes, by prostate epithelial cancers. In view of the above, we propose that immune-suppressive activity of epithelial cancers may stem from their acquisition of immune properties via a transdifferentiation process, we term "Epithelial Immune Cell-like Transition" (EIT), similar to neuroendocrine-like transdifferentiation of prostate adenocarcinoma cells. We propose that the acquired immune properties enable the cancer cells to "communicate" with immune cells, leading to suppression of anti-cancer immune activity in their micro-environment and facilitation of the expansion and malignant progression of the disease. Acquired immune properties of epithelial cancers, which might be quite common, could provide novel targets for reducing cancer-generated immune-suppressive activity and enhancing anti-tumor immune activity. This proposed paradigm shift could lead to novel therapeutic approaches with improved efficacy and broad application. © 2012 .

Blumenstein B.,Trial Architecture Consulting | Saad F.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Hotte S.,Juravinski Cancer Center | Chi K.N.,Cancer Agency Vancouver Cancer Center | And 3 more authors.
Cancer Medicine | Year: 2013

Elevated levels of clusterin (CLU), a stress-induced and secreted cytoprotective chaperone, are associated with advanced tumor stage, metastasis, treatment resistance, and adverse outcome in several cancers. Custirsen, a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide, inhibits CLU production in tumor cells and reduces serum CLU levels. A Phase 2 study evaluated custirsen in combination with second-line chemotherapy in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who had progressed while on or within 6 months of first-line docetaxel-based chemotherapy. Exploratory analyses evaluated serum CLU levels during custirsen treatment and correlative clinical effects on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response, overall survival, and any relationship between serum CLU and PSA. Men with mCRPC were treated with mitoxantrone/prednisone/custirsen (MPC, n = 22) or docetaxel retreatment/prednisone/custirsen (DPC plus DPC-Assigned, n = 45) in an open-label, multicenter study. Subject-specific profiles of PSA and serum CLU levels during treatment were characterized using statistical modeling to compute subject-specific summary measures; these measures were analyzed for relationship to survival using proportional hazard regression. Estimated individual serum CLU response profiles were scored as below or at/above the median level for the population through 100 days postrandomization. Median survival was longer for subjects scoring below the median serum CLU level compared with subjects at/above the median level, respectively (MPC: 15.1 months vs. 6.2 months; DPC-Pooled: 17.0 months vs. 12.1 months). Lowered serum CLU levels during custirsen treatment when in combination with either chemotherapy regimen were predictive of longer survival in mCRPC. These results support further evaluation of serum CLU as a therapeutic biomarker. © 2013 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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