Despite being well recognized as the best biomarker for prostate cancer, pathophysiologic roles of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) remain unclear. We report here that tissue PSA may be involved in the hormone-refractory prostate cancer progression. Histologic analyses show that the increased tissue PSA levels are correlated with lower cell apoptosis index and higher cell proliferation rate in hormone-refractory tumor specimens. By stably transfecting PSA cDNA into various prostate cancer cell lines, we found that PSA could promote the growth of androgen receptor (AR)-positive CWR22rv1 and high-passage LNCaP (hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells) but not that of AR-negative PC-3 and DU145 cells. Surprisingly, the protease activity of PSA is not crucial for PSA to stimulate growth and promote AR transactivation. We further showed that increased PSA could enhance ARA70-induced AR transactivation via modulating the p53 pathway that results in the decreased apoptosis and increased cell proliferation in prostate cancer cells. Knockdown of PSA in LNCaP and CWR22rv1 cells causes cell apoptosis and cell growth arrest at the G1 phase. In vitro colony formation assay and in vivo xenografted tumor results showed the suppression of prostate cancer growth via targeting PSA expression. Collectively, our findings suggest that, in addition to being a biomarker, PSA may also become a new potential therapeutic target for prostate cancer. PSA small interfering RNA or smaller molecules that can degrade PSA protein may be developed as alternative approaches to treat the prostate cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research