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  • Author: Alastair D Lamb x
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Benjamin C Thomas, Jonathan D Kay, Suraj Menon, Sarah L Vowler, Sarah N Dawson, Laura J Bucklow, Hayley J Luxton, Thomas Johnston, Charlie E Massie, Michelle Pugh, Anne Y Warren, Peter Barker, Keith Burling, Andy G Lynch, Anne George, Johanna Burge, Marie Corcoran, Sara Stearn, Alastair D Lamb, Naomi L Sharma, Greg L Shaw, David E Neal and Hayley C Whitaker

Due to increased sensitivity, the expression of circulating nucleotides is rapidly gaining popularity in cancer diagnosis. Whole blood mRNA has been used in studies on a number of cancers, most notably two separate studies that used whole blood mRNA to define non-overlapping signatures of prostate cancer that has become castration independent. Prostate cancer is known to rely on androgens for initial growth, and there is increasing evidence on the importance of the androgen axis in advanced disease. Using whole blood mRNA samples from patients with prostate cancer, we have identified the four-gene panel of FAM129A, MME, KRT7 and SOD2 in circulating mRNA that are differentially expressed in a discovery cohort of metastatic samples. Validation of these genes at the mRNA and protein level was undertaken in additional cohorts defined by risk of relapse following surgery and hormone status. All the four genes were downregulated at the mRNA level in the circulation and in primary tissue, but this was not always reflected in tissue protein expression. MME demonstrated significant differences in the hormone cohorts, whereas FAM129A is downregulated at the mRNA level but is raised at the protein level in tumours. Using published ChIP-seq data, we have demonstrated that this may be due to AR binding at the FAM129A and MME loci in multiple cell lines. These data suggest that whole blood mRNA of androgen-regulated genes has the potential to be used for diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer.

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Charles E Massie, Inmaculada Spiteri, Helen Ross-Adams, Hayley Luxton, Jonathan Kay, Hayley C Whitaker, Mark J Dunning, Alastair D Lamb, Antonio Ramos-Montoya, Daniel S Brewer, Colin S Cooper, Rosalind Eeles, UK Prostate ICGC Group, Anne Y Warren, Simon Tavaré, David E Neal and Andy G Lynch

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, resulting in over 10 000 deaths/year in the UK. Sequencing and copy number analysis of primary tumours has revealed heterogeneity within tumours and an absence of recurrent founder mutations, consistent with non-genetic disease initiating events. Using methylation profiling in a series of multi-focal prostate tumours, we identify promoter methylation of the transcription factor HES5 as an early event in prostate tumourigenesis. We confirm that this epigenetic alteration occurs in 86–97% of cases in two independent prostate cancer cohorts (n=49 and n=39 tumour–normal pairs). Treatment of prostate cancer cells with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine increased HES5 expression and downregulated its transcriptional target HES6, consistent with functional silencing of the HES5 gene in prostate cancer. Finally, we identify and test a transcriptional module involving the AR, ERG, HES1 and HES6 and propose a model for the impact of HES5 silencing on tumourigenesis as a starting point for future functional studies.

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Martin K Bakht, Iulian Derecichei, Yinan Li, Rosa-Maria Ferraiuolo, Mark Dunning, So Won Oh, Abdulkadir Hussein, Hyewon Youn, Keith F Stringer, Chang Wook Jeong, Gi Jeong Cheon, Cheol Kwak, Keon Wook Kang, Alastair D Lamb, Yuzhuo Wang, Xuesen Dong and Lisa A Porter

Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is overexpressed in most prostate adenocarcinoma (AdPC) cells and acts as a target for molecular imaging. However, some case reports indicate that PSMA-targeted imaging could be ineffectual for delineation of neuroendocrine (NE) prostate cancer (NEPC) lesions due to the suppression of the PSMA gene (FOLH1). These same reports suggest that targeting somatostatin receptor type 2 (SSTR2) could be an alternative diagnostic target for NEPC patients. This study evaluates the correlation between expression of FOLH1, NEPC marker genes and SSTR2. We evaluated the transcript abundance for FOLH1 and SSTR2 genes as well as NE markers across 909 tumors. A significant suppression of FOLH1 in NEPC patient samples and AdPC samples with high expression of NE marker genes was observed. We also investigated protein alterations of PSMA and SSTR2 in an NE-induced cell line derived by hormone depletion and lineage plasticity by loss of p53. PSMA is suppressed following NE induction and cellular plasticity in p53-deficient NEPC model. The PSMA-suppressed cells have more colony formation ability and resistance to enzalutamide treatment. Conversely, SSTR2 was only elevated following hormone depletion. In 18 NEPC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models we find a significant suppression of FOLH1 and amplification of SSTR2 expression. Due to the observed FOLH1-supressed signature of NEPC, this study cautions on the reliability of using PMSA as a target for molecular imaging of NEPC. The observed elevation of SSTR2 in NEPC supports the possible ability of SSTR2-targeted imaging for follow-up imaging of low PSMA patients and monitoring for NEPC development.