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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Differential CARM1 expression in prostate and colorectal cancers

Young-Rang Kim13, Byung Kook Lee2, Ra-Young Park13, Nguyen Thi Xuan Nguyen13, Jeong A Bae3, Dong Deuk Kwon45 and Chaeyong Jung15*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea

2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea

3 Medical Research Center for Gene Regulation, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea

4 Department of Urology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea

5 Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:197  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-197

Published: 13 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) functions as a transcriptional coactivator of androgen receptor (AR)-mediated signaling. Correspondingly, overexpression of CARM1 has been associated with the development of prostate cancer (PCa) and its progression to androgen-independent PCa. In our preliminary study, however, the promoting effects of CARM1, with regard to androgen-stimulated AR target gene expression were minimal. These results suggested that the AR target gene expression associated with CARM1 may result primarily from non-hormone dependent activity. The goal of this study was to confirm the pattern of expression of CARM1 in human tumors and determine the mechanism of action in CARM1 overexpressed tumors.

Methods

Tissue microarray was used to determine the pattern of expression of CARM1 in human cancers by immunohistochemistry. CARM1 expression was also evaluated in prostate and colorectal surgical specimens and the clinical records of all cases were reviewed. In addition, a reporter transcription assay using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) promoter was used to identify the signaling pathways involved in non-hormone-mediated signal activation associated with CARM1.

Results

The tissue microarray showed that CARM1 was particularly overexpressed in the colorectal cancers while CARM1 expression was not prevalent in the prostate and breast cancers. Further studies using surgical specimens demonstrated that CARM1 was highly overexpressed in 75% of colorectal cancers (49 out of 65) but not in the androgen-independent PCa. In addition, CARM1's coactivating effect on the entire PSA promoter was very limited in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent PCa cells. These results suggest that there are other factors associated with CARM1 expression in PSA regulation. Indeed, CARM1 significantly regulated both p53 and NF-κB target gene transcription.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that, in addition to its role in activation of steroid receptors, CARM1 functions as a transcriptional modulator by altering the activity of many transcriptional factors, especially with regard to androgen independent PCa and colorectal cancers.