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Publications (7)30.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Despite new treatments for castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), the prognosis of patients with CRPC remains bleak due to acquired resistance to androgen receptor (AR)-directed therapy. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and AR share several transcriptional targets, including the anti-apoptotic genes serum and g lucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) and Map kinase phosphatase 1 (MKP1)/dual specificity phosphatase 1 (DUSP1). Because GR expression increases in a subset of primary prostate cancer (PC) following androgen deprivation therapy, we sought to determine whether GR activation can contribute to resistance to AR-directed therapy. We studied CWR-22Rv1 and LAPC4 AR/GR-expressing PC cell lines following treatment with combinations of the androgen R1881, AR antagonist MDV3100, GR agonist dexamethasone, GR antagonists mifepristone and CORT 122928, or the SGK1 inhibitor GSK650394. Cell lines stably expressing GR (NR3C1)-targeted shRNA or ectopic SGK1-Flag were also studied in vivo. GR activation diminished the effects of the AR antagonist MDV3100 on tumor cell viability. In addition, GR activation increased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) secretion and induced SGKI and MKP1/DUSP gene expression. Glucocorticoid-mediated cell viability was diminished by a GR antagonist or by co-treatment with the SGK1 inhibitor GSK650394. In vivo, GR depletion delayed castrate-resistant tumor formation, while SGK1-Flag-overexpressing PC xenografts displayed accelerated castrate-resistant tumor initiation, supporting a role for SGK1 in GR-mediated CRPC progression. We studied several PC models before and following treatment with androgen blockade and found that increased GR expression and activity contributed to tumor-promoting PC cell viability. Increased GR-regulated SGK1 expression appears, at least in part, to mediate enhanced PC cell survival. Therefore, GR and/or SGK1 inhibition may be useful adjuncts to AR blockade for treating CRPC.
    Hormones and Cancer 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Despite advances in detection and therapy, castration-resistant prostate cancer continues to be a major clinical problem. The aberrant activity of stem cell pathways, and their regulation by the Androgen Receptor (AR), has the potential to provide insight into novel mechanisms and pathways to prevent and treat advanced, castrate-resistant prostate cancers. To this end, we investigated the role of the embryonic stem cell regulator Sox2 [SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2] in normal and malignant prostate epithelial cells. In the normal prostate, Sox2 is expressed in a portion of basal epithelial cells. Prostate tumors were either Sox2-positive or Sox2-negative, with the percentage of Sox2-positive tumors increasing with Gleason Score and metastases. In the castration-resistant prostate cancer cell line CWR-R1, endogenous expression of Sox2 was repressed by AR signaling, and AR chromatin-IP shows that AR binds the enhancer element within the Sox2 promoter. Likewise, in normal prostate epithelial cells and human embryonic stem cells, increased AR signaling also decreases Sox2 expression. Resistance to the anti-androgen MDV3100 results in a marked increase in Sox2 expression within three prostate cancer cell lines, and in the castration-sensitive LAPC-4 prostate cancer cell line ectopic expression of Sox2 was sufficient to promote castration-resistant tumor formation. Loss of Sox2 expression in the castration-resistant CWR-R1 prostate cancer cell line inhibited cell growth. Up-regulation of Sox2 was not associated with increased CD133 expression but was associated with increased FGF5 (Fibroblast Growth Factor 5) expression. These data propose a model of elevated Sox2 expression due to loss of AR-mediated repression during castration, and consequent castration-resistance via mechanisms not involving induction of canonical embryonic stem cell pathways.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53701. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The stress-activated MAP kinases (SAPK) signaling pathways play a critical role in the cellular response to toxins and physical stress, mediate inflammation, and modulate carcinogenesis and tumor metastasis. The stress-activated MAP kinases (MAPK) c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 are activated upon phosphorylation by a widely expressed and conserved family of upstream MAP kinase kinases (MAP2K). Signaling mediated by p38 and JNK has well-established importance in cancer, yet the contribution of this pathway in urothelial bladder cancer is not understood. This study evaluated stress-activated MAP kinase pathway expression in cell lines derived from human urothelial carcinomas. Total protein lysates from a panel of human urothelial bladder cancer cell lines (RT4, T24, UMUC-3, J82, 5637, 253J, and 253J-BV) were analyzed by immunoblotting for the JNK and p38 MAPKs, as well as MKK3, MKK4, MKK6, and MKK7. Quantitative real time PCR was utilized to determine mRNA expression levels of the MAP2Ks. Stress stimuli (sorbitol, hydrogen peroxide, and UV irradiation) were used to active p38, which was measured by phospho-antibody. Although protein levels were variable, all cell lines expressed p38 and JNK. On the other hand, with the exception of the well-differentiated cell line RT4, each cell line had a reduction or absence of expression of one or more MAP2K. 253J and 253J-BV exhibited no expression of MKK6, even when an excess of protein was queried. mRNA levels indicated that both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms are involved in the regulation of MAP2Ks. Decreased MAP2K expression correlated with decreased ability to activate p38 in response to stress stimuli. Aberrant MAP2K protein expression indicates that altered cellular signal transduction mediated via JNK and p38 may be common in bladder cancer. Down-regulation of MAP2Ks likely occurs at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Consistent with the known function of p38 and JNK in apoptosis, defects in normal pathway function caused by decreased expression of upstream MAP2Ks may provide a survival advantage to bladder cancer cells. Further investigations should focus on identifying a functional role for these pathways in bladder cancer development.
    Urologic Oncology 12/2011; 30(4):415-20. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metastatic dissemination in prostate cancer is often early, but not all cancer cells form clinical metastases. Map kinase kinase 4 (MKK4) suppresses metastasis in a preclinical prostate cancer model. We hypothesize that MKK4 will specifically inhibit metastatic colonization through impaired proliferation. Three highly metastatic rat prostate cancer cell lines (AT6.1, Mat-Lu and AT3.1) were employed. Stably over-expressing HA-MKK4 or vector control lines were injected into immunocompromised mice. These experiments validated that HA-MKK4 specifically affects metastatic colonization and increases survival. Median survival (days) with HA-MKK4 vs. vector was 42 vs. 28 (p < 0.0001) for AT6.1, 25 vs. 19 (p < 0.0001) for Mat-Lu and 27 vs. 20 (p < 0.0001) for AT3.1. HA-MKK4 suppresses colonization within 14 days post dissemination, after which exponential proliferation resumes. Although overt metastases retain HA-MKK4, it is inactive within these lesions. Nonetheless, metastasis-derived cell lines were shown to retain functional HA-MKK4 and like their parental HA-MKK4 line are suppressed for experimental metastasis formation in vivo. Disseminated AT6.1-HA-MKK4 cells were analyzed and were found to have an alteration in cell cycle. Specifically, there was an accumulation of cells in G1-phase (p = 0.024) and decrease in S-phase (p = 0.037) compared with vector. In multiple prostate cancer lines, HA-MKK4 suppresses an early step in metastatic colonization. These data support a model in which MKK4 activation at the metastatic site causes a cell-cycle arrest, which is eventually overcome despite presence of functional HA-MKK4. Further studies will specifically interrogate the regulation of MKK4 activation within the metastatic microenvironment and the down-stream molecular events critical for metastasis suppression.
    International Journal of Cancer 02/2011; 130(3):509-20. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To test the hypothesis that FYN, a member of the SRC family of kinases (SFKs), is up-regulated in prostate cancer, as FYN is functionally distinct from other SFKs, and interacts with FAK and paxillin (PXN), regulators of cell morphology and motility. Through data-mining in Oncomine (http://www.oncomine.org), cell-line profiling with immunoblotting, quantitative reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemical analysis, we described FYN expression in prostate cancer. The analysis included 32 cases of prostate cancer, nine of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and 19 normal prostates. Samples were scored for the percentage of stained glands and intensity of staining (from 0 to 3). Each sample was assigned a composite score generated by multiplying percentage and intensity. Data-mining showed an eight times greater FYN expression in prostate cancer than in normal tissue; this was specific to FYN and not present for other SFKs. Expression of FYN in prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, 22Rv1, PC3, DuPro) was detected using quantitative RT-PCR and immunoblotting. Expression of FYN and its signalling partners FAK and PXN was detected in human tissue. Comparing normal with cancer samples, there was a 2.1-fold increase in median composite score for FYN (P < 0.001) 1.7-fold increase in FAK (P < 0.001), and a doubling in PXN (P < 0.05). There was a 1.7-fold increase in FYN (P < 0.05) and a 1.6-fold increase in FAK (P < 0.01) in cancer compared with PIN. These studies support the hypothesis that FYN and its related signalling partners are up-regulated in prostate cancer, and support further investigation into the role of the FYN as a therapeutic target.
    BJU International 11/2008; 103(2):171-7. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In many patients without clinical metastases, cancer cells have already escaped from the primary tumor and entered a distant organ. A long-standing question in metastasis research is why some disseminated cancer cells fail to complete steps of metastatic colonization for extended periods of time. Our laboratory identified c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase activating kinase 1/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (JNKK1/MKK4) as a metastasis suppressor protein in a mouse xenograft model of experimental i.p. ovarian cancer metastasis. In this model, expression of JNKK1/MKK4 via activation of p38 delays formation of >or=1-mm implants and prolongs animal survival. Here, we elucidate the time course of this delay as well as the biological mechanisms underpinning it. Using the Gompertz function to model the net accumulation of experimental omental metastases, we show that MKK4-expressing implants arise, on average, 30 days later than controls. Quantitative real-time PCR shows that MKK4 expression does not have a substantial effect on the number of cancer cells initially adhering to the omentum, and terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling analysis shows that there is no increase in apoptosis in these cells. Instead, immunohistochemical quantitation of cell cycle proteins reveals that MKK4-expressing cells fail to proliferate once they reach the omentum and up-regulate p21, a cell cycle inhibitor. Consistent with the time course data, in vitro kinase assays and in vivo passaging of cell lines derived from macroscopic metastases show that the eventual outgrowth of MKK4-expressing cells is not due to a discrete selection event. Rather, the population of MKK4-expressing cells eventually uniformly adapts to the consequences of up-regulated MKK4 signaling.
    Cancer Research 05/2008; 68(7):2166-75. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4/c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase kinase 1 (MKK4/JNKK1; hereafter referred to as MKK4) is a dual-specificity kinase with a critical role in regulating the activity of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase and p38 kinases. We identified a novel biological function for MKK4 in the regulation of growth of ovarian and prostate cancer metastases. Clinical correlative studies showed that MKK4 protein levels were reduced in high-grade prostate cancer and prostate and ovarian cancer metastases compared with normal tissue, which prompted investigation into the mechanism(s) responsible for down-regulation of MKK4 in a panel of cancer cell lines. Initial studies found that low levels of MKK4 protein did not correlate with either exon deletion or decreased levels of MKK4 mRNA, suggesting that MKK4 protein levels were regulated posttranscriptionally by either reduced translation or reduced protein stability. Endogenous MKK4 was highly stable and not subject to altered proteolysis. Instead, MKK4 biosynthesis seemed to be regulated by altered translation. In support of this assertion, we found that cytosolic MKK4 mRNA was shifted toward active polysomes in cells with higher levels of MKK4 protein, suggesting that MKK4 mRNA was translated more efficiently in these cells. This study supports a novel mechanism for the regulation of MKK4 protein levels. Further, these findings have potential therapeutic implications for modulating the expression of a signaling kinase involved in the regulation of metastatic growth.
    Molecular Cancer Research 04/2008; 6(3):501-8. · 4.35 Impact Factor