The expression, regulation and function of kallikrein 4 in prostate cancer

Collard, Rachael (2003) The expression, regulation and function of kallikrein 4 in prostate cancer. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Prostate cancer is a significant health problem faced by aging men. Currently, diagnostic strategies for the detection of prostate cancer are either unreliable, yielding high numbers of false positive results, or too invasive to be used widely as screening tests. Furthermore, the current therapeutic strategies for the treatment of the disease carry considerable side effects. Although organ confined prostate cancer can be curable, most detectable clinical symptoms occur in advanced disease when primary tumour cells have metastasised to distant sites - usually lymph nodes and bone.

Many growth factors and steroids assist the continued growth and maintenance of prostatic tumour cells. Of these mitogens, androgens are important in the development of the normal prostate but are also required to sustain the growth of prostate cancer cells in the early stage of the disease. Not only are androgens required in the early stage of disease, but also many other growth factors and hormones interact to cause uncontrolled proliferation of malignant cells. The early, androgen sensitive phase of disease is followed by an androgen insensitive phase, whereby androgens are no longer required to stimulate the growth of the tumour cells. Growth factors such as transforming growth factor  and  (TGF/), epidermal growth factor (EGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), Vitamin D and thyroid hormone have been suggested to be important at this stage of disease. Interestingly, some of the kallikrein family of genes, including prostate specific antigen (PSA), the current serum diagnostic marker for prostate cancer, are regulated by androgens and many of the aforementioned growth factors.

The kallikrein gene family is a group of serine proteases that are involved in a diverse range of physiological processes: regulation of local blood flow, angiogenesis, tissue invasion and mitogenesis. The earliest members of the kallikrein gene family (KLK1-KLK3) have been strongly associated with general disease states, such as hypertension, inflammation, pancreatitis and renal disease, but are also linked to various cancers. Recently, this family was extended to include 15 genes (KLK1-15). Several newer members of the kallikrein family have been implicated in the carcinogenesis and tumour metastasis of hormone-dependent cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer.

The aims of this project were to investigate the expression of the newly identified kallikrein, KLK4, in benign and malignant prostate tissues, and prostate cancer cell lines. This thesis has demonstrated the elevated expression of KLK4 mRNA transcripts in malignant prostate tissue compared to benign prostates. Additionally, expression of the full length KLK4 transcript was detected in the androgen dependent prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP.

Based on the above finding, the LNCaP cell line was chosen to assess the potential regulation of full length KLK4 by androgen, thyroid hormone and epidermal growth factor. KLK4 mRNA and protein was found to be up-regulated by androgen and a combination of androgen and thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone alone produced no significant change in KLK4 mRNA or protein over the control. Epidermal growth factor treatment also resulted in elevated expression levels of KLK4 mRNA and protein.

To assess the potential functional role(s) of KLK4/hK4 in processes associated with tumour progression, full length KLK4 was transfected into PC-3 cells - a prostate cancer cell line originally derived from a secondary bone lesion. The KLK4/hK4 over-expressing cells were assessed for their proliferation, migration, invasion and attachment properties.

The KLK4 over-expressing clones exhibited a marked change in morphology, indicative of a more aggressive phenotype. The KLK4 clones were irregularly shaped with compromised adhesion to the growth surface. In contrast, the control cell lines (parent PC-3 and empty vector clones) retained a rounded morphology with obvious cell to cell adhesion, as well as significant adhesion to their growth surface. The KLK4 clones exhibited significantly greater attachment to Collagen I and IV than native PC-3s and empty vector controls. Over a 12 hour period, in comparison to the control cells, the KLK4 clones displayed an increase in migration towards PC-3 native conditioned media, a 3 fold increase towards conditioned media from an osteoblastic cell line (Saos-2) and no change in migration towards conditioned media from neonatal foreskin fibroblast cells or 20% foetal bovine serum. Furthermore, the increase in migration exhibited by the KLK4 clones was partially blocked by the serine protease inhibitor, aprotinin.

The data presented in this thesis suggests that KLK4/hK4 is important in prostate carcinogenesis due to its over-expression in malignant prostate tissues, its regulation by hormones and growth factors associated with prostate disease and the functional consequences of over-expression of KLK4/hK4 in the PC-3 cell line. These results indicate that KLK4/hK4 may play an important role in tumour invasion and bone metastasis via increased attachment to the bone matrix protein, Collagen I, and enhanced migration due to soluble factors produced by osteoblast cells. This suggestion is further supported by the morphological changes displayed by the KLK4 over-expressing cells. Overall, this data suggests that KLK4/hK4 should be further studied to more fully investigate the potential value of KLK4/hK4 as a diagnostic/prognostic biomarker or in therapeutic applications.

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ID Code: 49073
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Clements, Judith & Herington, Adrian
Keywords: kallikrein, prostate cancer, metastasis, KLK4/HK4, hormonal regulation, androgen, migration, invasion, attachment
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2012 00:25
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 14:42

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