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Aberrant expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 in human prostate cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stuart McCracken, Professor Rakesh Heer, Dr Marie Mathers, Benjamin Jenkins, Professor Craig Robson, Professor Hing Leung


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Abnormal intracellular signaling contributes to carcinogenesis and may represent novel therapeutic targets. mitogen/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase-5 (MEK5) overexpression is associated with aggressive prostate cancer. In this study, we examined the role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK5, an MAPK and specific substrate for MEK5) in prostate cancer. ERK5 immunoreactivity was significantly upregulated in high-grade prostate cancer when compared to benign prostatic hyperplasia (P<0.0001). Increased ERK5 cytoplasmic signals correlated closely with Gleason sum score (P<0.0001), bony metastases (P=0.0044) and locally advanced disease at diagnosis (P=0.0023), with a weak association with shorter disease-specific survival (P=0.036). A subgroup of patients showed strong nuclear ERK5 localization, which correlated with poor disease-specific survival and, on multivariant analysis, was an independent prognostic factor (P<0.0001). Analysis of ERK5 expression in matched tumor pairs (before and after hormone relapse, n=26) revealed ERK5 nuclear expression was significantly associated with hormone-insensitive disease (P=0.0078). Similarly, ERK5 protein expression was increased in an androgen-independent LNCaP subline. We obtained the following in vitro and in vivo evidence to support the above expression data: (1) cotransfection of ERK5wt and MEK5D constructs in PC3 cells results in predominant ERK5 nuclear localization, similar to that observed in aggressive clinical disease; (2) ERK5-overexpressing PC3 cells have enhanced proliferative, migrative and invasive capabilities in vitro (P<0.0001), and were dramatically more efficient in forming tumors, with a shorter mean time for tumors to reach a critical volume of 1000 mm3, in vivo (P<0.0001); (3) the MEK1 inhibitor, PD184352, blocking ERK1/2 activation at low dose, did not suppress proliferation but did significantly decrease proliferation at a higher dose required to inhibit ERK5 activation. Taken together, our results establish the potential importance of ERK5 in aggressive prostate cancer. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McCracken SRC, Ramsay A, Heer R, Mathers ME, Jenkins BL, Edwards J, Robson CN, Marquez R, Cohen P, Leung HY

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Oncogene

Year: 2008

Volume: 27

Issue: 21

Pages: 2978-2988

ISSN (print): 0950-9232

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5594

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210963

PubMed id: 18071319


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0500966Medical Research Council
MC_U127084348Medical Research Council