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The importance of the CXCL12 – CXCR4 chemokine ligand – receptor interaction in prostate cancer metastasis
Manit Arya, Hitendra Rh Patel, Claire McGurk, Roger Tatoud, Helmut Klocker, John Masters, Magali Williamson

AIM: Chemokines or chemotactic cytokines are known to be important in the directional migration or chemotaxis of leucocytes in conditions of homeostasis and in inflammatory or immunological responses. However, the role of chemokines is extending beyond their involvement in mediating leucocyte trafficking with an increasing body of evidence suggesting these proteins are intimately involved in many stages of tumour development and progression. Our aim was to study the role of the CXCL12: CXCR4 chemokine ligand: receptor complex in determining the organ-specific metastasis of prostate cancer.

MATERIALS and METHODS: CXCR4 mRNA expression was determined by RT-PCR in 3 metastatic prostate cancer cell lines DU145, LNCaP and PC3, the primary prostate cancer cell line 1542 CPT3X and the normal prostate epithelial cell lines 1542 NPTX and Pre 2.8. This was followed by Taqman quantitative PCR analysis of CXCR4 mRNA in these cell lines. Flow cytometry analysis was then used to measure the expression of the CXCR4 receptor protein on the cell surface. The influence of the receptor on cell migration was studied using Transwell&Mac226; Migration Assays. Finally, Taqman quantitative PCR was performed on RNA obtained from laser microdissected fresh primary prostate tumour and benign tissue samples from patients.

RESULTS: In DU145, LNCaP and PC3 CXCR4 mRNA expression was approximately 1000, 400 and 21 times respectively that of 1542 NPTX, Pre 2.8 and 1542 CPT3X. In patient primary tumour samples and patient benign tissue specimens CXCR4 mRNA expression was similar to that of the metastatic cell line DU145. Flow cytometry analysis showed that significantly higher levels of the CXCR4 receptor were present on the cell surface of the 3 metastatic cell lines. Migration studies revealed that chemotaxis of the metastatic cell lines PC3 and DU145 was enhanced by CXCL12 ligand and inhibited by antibody to CXCR4. CXCL12 did not influence the migration of the normal prostate epithelial cell line 1542 NPTX.

CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated that human prostate cell lines derived from metastases express functional CXCR4 receptor and that CXCL12 ligand enhances their migratory capabilities. Also, laser microdissected primary patient tumours and patient benign tissue specimens express CXCR4 mRNA at high levels (it is suggested that post-transcriptional modification of the CXCR4 receptor plays a major role in regulating protein expression). These results suggest prostate cancers may be influenced by the CXCL12: CXCR4 pathway during metastasis. This pathway would provide a novel target for therapeutic intervention.

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