Neuroendocrine (NE) cells represent a minor cell population in the epithelial compartment of normal prostate glands and may play a role in regulating the growth and differentiation of normal prostate epithelia. In prostate tumor lesions, the population of NE-like cells, i.e., cells exhibiting NE phenotypes and expressing NE markers, is increased that correlates with tumor progression, poor prognosis, and the androgen-independent state. However, the origin of those NE-like cells in prostate cancer (PCa) lesions and the underlying molecular mechanism of enrichment remain an enigma. In this review, we focus on discussing the distinction between NE-like PCa and normal NE cells, the potential origin of NE-like PCa cells, and in vitro and in vivo studies related to the molecular mechanism of NE transdifferentiation of PCa cells. The data together suggest that PCa cells undergo a transdifferentiation process to become NE-like cells, which acquire the NE phenotype and express NE markers. Thus, we propose that those NE-like cells in PCa lesions were originated from cancerous epithelial cells, but not from normal NE cells, and should be defined as ‘NE-like PCa cells’. We further describe the biochemical properties of newly established, stable NE-like lymph node carcinoma of the prostate (LNCaP) cell lines, transdifferentiated from androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells under androgen-deprived conditions. Knowledge of understanding NE-like PCa cells will help us to explore new therapeutic strategies for treating PCa.
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Ta-Chun Yuan, Suresh Veeramani, and Ming-Fong Lin
Syed Mahfuzul Alam, Mythilypriya Rajendran, Shouqiang Ouyang, Suresh Veeramani, Li Zhang, and Ming-Fong Lin
Tyrosine phosphorylation plays a critical role in growth regulation, and its aberrant regulation can be involved in carcinogenesis. The association of Shc (Src homolog and collagen homolog) adaptor protein family members in tyrosine phosphorylation signaling pathway is well recognized. Shc adaptor proteins transmit activated tyrosine phosphorylation signaling that suggest their plausible role in growth regulation including carcinogenesis and metastasis. In parallel, by sharing a similar mechanism of carcinogenesis, the steroids are involved in the early stage of carcinogenesis as well as the regulation of cancer progression and metastatic processes. Recent evidence indicates a cross-talk between tyrosine phosphorylation signaling and steroid hormone action in epithelial cells, including prostate and breast cancer cells. Therefore, the members of Shc proteins may function as mediators between tyrosine phosphorylation and steroid signaling in steroid-regulated cell proliferation and carcinogenesis. In this communication, we discuss the novel roles of Shc proteins, specifically p52Shc and p66Shc, in steroid hormone-regulated cancers and a novel molecular mechanism by which redox signaling induced by p66Shc mediates steroid action via a non-genomic pathway. The p66Shc protein may serve as an effective biomarker for predicting cancer prognosis as well as a useful target for treatment.
Suresh Veeramani, Ta-Chun Yuan, Siu-Ju Chen, Fen-Fen Lin, Juliette E Petersen, Syed Shaheduzzaman, Shiv Srivastava, Richard G MacDonald, and Ming-Fong Lin
Human prostatic acid phosphatase (PAcP) was used as a valuable surrogate marker for monitoring prostate cancer prior to the availability of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Even though the level of PAcP is increased in the circulation of prostate cancer patients, its intracellular level and activity are greatly diminished in prostate cancer cells. Recent advances in understanding the function of the cellular form of PAcP (cPAcP) have shed some light on its role in prostate carcinogenesis, which may have potential applications for prostate cancer therapy. It is now evident that cPAcP functions as a neutral protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) in prostate cancer cells and dephosphorylates HER-2/ErbB-2/Neu (HER-2: human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) at the phosphotyrosine (p-Tyr) residues. Dephosphorylation of HER-2 at its p-Tyr residues results in the down-regulation of its specific activity, which leads to decreases in growth and tumorigenicity of those cancer cells. Conversely, decreased cPAcP expression correlates with hyperphosphorylation of HER-2 at tyrosine residues and activation of downstream extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, which results in prostate cancer progression as well as androgen-independent growth of prostate cancer cells. These in vitro results on the effect of cPAcP on androgen-independent growth of prostate cancer cells corroborate the clinical findings that cPAcP level is greatly decreased in advanced prostate cancer and provide insights into one of the molecular mechanisms involved in prostate cancer progression. Results from experiments using xenograft animal models further indicate a novel role of cPAcP as a tumor suppressor. Future studies are warranted to clarify the use of cPAcP as a therapeutic agent in human prostate cancer patients.
Ta-Chun Yuan, Suresh Veeramani, Fen-Fen Lin, Dmitry Kondrikou, Stanislav Zelivianski, Tsukasa Igawa, Dev Karan, Surinder K. Batra, and Ming-Fong Lin
Neuroendocrine (NE) cells are the minor cell populations in normal prostate epithelial compartments. During prostate carcinogenesis, the number of NE cells in malignant lesions increases, correlating with its tumorigenicity and hormone-refractory growth. It is thus proposed that cancerous NE cells promote prostate cancer (PCa) cell progression and its androgen-independent proliferation, although the origin of the cancerous NE cells is not clear. To investigate the role of cancerous NE cells in prostate carcinogenesis, we characterized three NE subclone cell lines–NE-1.3, NE-1.8 and NE-1.9, which were transdifferentiated from androgen-sensitive human PCa LNCaP cells by culturing in an androgen-depleted environment, resembling clinical androgen-ablation therapy. These subclone cells acquire many features of NE cells seen in clinical prostate carcinomas, for example exhibiting a neuronal morphology and expressing multiple NE markers, including neuron-specific enolase, chromogranin B, neurotensin, parathyroid hormone-related peptide, and to a lesser degree for chromogranin A, while lacking androgen receptor (AR) or prostate specific antigen (PSA) expression. These cells represent terminally differentiated stable cells because after 3 months of re-culturing in a medium containing androgenic activity, they still retained the NE phenotype and expressed NE markers. Despite these NE cells having a slow growth rate, they readily developed xenograft tumors. Furthermore, media conditioned by these NE cells exhibited a stimulatory effect on proliferation and PSA secretion by LNCaP cells in androgen-deprived conditions. Additionally, we found that receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase α plays a role in upregulating multiple NE markers and acquiring the NE phenotype. These NE cells thus represent cancerous NE cells and could serve as a useful cell model system for investigating the role of cancerous NE cells in hormone-refractory proliferation of PCa cells.