Open Access Open Badges Research article

Therapeutic potential of PRL-3 targeting and clinical significance of PRL-3 genomic amplification in gastric cancer

Akira Ooki*, Keishi Yamashita, Shiro Kikuchi, Shinichi Sakuramoto, Natsuya Katada, Mina Waraya, Hiroshi Kawamata, Hiroshi Nishimiya, Kazunori Nakamura and Masahiko Watanabe*

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Kitasato University Hospital, Kitasato 1-15-1, Sagamihara 228-8555, Kanagawa, Japan

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:122  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-122

Published: 6 April 2011



Phosphatase of regenerating liver-3 (PRL-3) has deserved attention as a crucial molecule in the multiple steps of metastasis. In the present study, we examined the mechanisms regulating PRL-3 expression, and assessed the clinical potential of PRL-3-targeted therapy in gastric cancer.


PRL-3 genomic amplification was analyzed using quantitative-polymerase chain reaction and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization in 77 primary gastric tumors. The anticancer activity of PRL-3 inhibitor (1-4-bromo-2-benzylidene rhodanine) treatment was evaluated against cancer cells with different genetic and expression status.


PRL-3 genomic amplification was closely concordant with high level of its protein expression in cell lines, and was found in 20% (8/40) among human primary tumors with its expression, which were all stage III/IV disease (40%, 8/20), but in none (0/37) among those without expression. Additionally, PRL-3 genomic amplification was associated with metastatic lymph node status, leading to advanced stage and thereby poor outcomes in patients with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.021). PRL-3 small interfering RNA robustly repressed metastatic properties, including cell proliferation, invasion, and anchorage-independent colony formation. Although neither PRL-3 genomic amplification nor expression level was responsible for the sensitivity to PRL-3 inhibitor treatment, the inhibitor showed dose-dependent anticancer efficacy, and remarkably induced apoptosis on all the tested cell lines with PRL-3 expression.


We have for the first time, demonstrated that PRL-3 genomic amplification is one of the predominant mechanisms inducing its expression, especially in more advanced stage, and that PRL-3-targeted therapy may have a great potential against gastric cancer with its expression.

PRL-3; gastric cancer; genomic amplification; targeted therapy; lymph node