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Selective over-expression of fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 4 in clinical prostate cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Steven Darby, Professor Hing Leung, Dr Marie Mathers, Professor Craig Robson, Vincent Gnanapragasam


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Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) mediate the tumourigenic effects of FGFs in prostate cancer. These receptors are therefore potential therapeutic targets in the development of inhibitors to this pathway. To identify the most relevant targets, we simultaneously investigated FGFRI-4 expression using a prostate cancer tissue microarray (TMA) and in laser capture microdissected (LCM) prostate epithelial cells. In malignant prostates (n = 138) we observed significant FGFR1 and FGFR4 protein over-expression in comparison with benign prostates (n = 58; p < 0.0001). FGFR1 was expressed at high levels in the majority of tumours (69% of grade 3 or less, 74% of grade 4 and 70% of grade 5), while FGFR4 was strongly expressed in 83% of grade 5 cancers but in only 25% of grade 1-3 cancers (p < 0.0001). At the transcript level we observed a similar pattern, with FGFR1 and FGFR4 mRNA over-expressed in malignant epithelial cells compared to benign cells (p < 0.0005 and p < 0.05, respectively). While total FGFR2 was increased in some cancers, there was no association between expression and tumour grade or stage. Transcript analysis, however, revealed a switch in the predominant isoform expressed from FGFR2IIIb to FGFR2IIIc among malignant epithelial cells. In contrast, protein and transcript expression of FGFR3 was very similar between benign and cancer biopsies. The functional effect of targeting FGFR4 in prostate cancer cells has not previously been investigated. In in vitro experiments, suppression of FGFR4 by RNA interference effectively blocked prostate cancer cell proliferation (p < 0.0001) and invasion (p < 0.001) in response to exogenous stimulation. This effect was evident regardless of whether the cells expressed the FGFR4 Arg388 or Gly388 allele. In parallel experiments, FGFR3 suppression had no discernible effect on cancer cell behaviour. These results suggest evidence of selective over-expression of FGFR1 and FGFR4 in clinical prostate cancer and support the notion of targeted inhibition of these receptors to disrupt FGF signalling. Copyright © 2007 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sahadevan K, Darby S, Leung HY, Mathers ME, Robson CN, Gnanapragasam VJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Pathology

Year: 2007

Volume: 213

Issue: 1

Pages: 82-90

Print publication date: 01/09/2007

ISSN (print): 0022-3417

ISSN (electronic): 1096-9896

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/path.2205

PubMed id: 17607666


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0500966Medical Research Council