Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Role and expression of FRS2 and FRS3 in prostate cancer

Tania Valencia1, Ajay Joseph1, Naveen Kachroo1, Steve Darby2, Susan Meakin3 and Vincent J Gnanapragasam1*

Author Affiliations

1 Translational Prostate Cancer Group, Department of Oncology, Hutchison/MRC research centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

2 Northern Institute for Cancer Research, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

3 Laboratory of Neural Signalling, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:484  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-484

Published: 11 November 2011



FGF receptor substrates (FRS2 and FRS3) are key adaptor proteins that mediate FGF-FGFR signalling in benign as well as malignant tissue. Here we investigated FRS2 and FRS3 as a means of disrupting global FGF signalling in prostate cancer.


FRS2 and FRS3 manipulation was investigated in vitro using over-expression, knockdown and functional assays. FRS2 and FRS3 expression was profiled in cell lines and clinical tumors of different grades.


In a panel of cell lines we observed ubiquitous FRS2 and FRS3 transcript and protein expression in both benign and malignant cells. We next tested functional redundancy of FRS2 and FRS3 in prostate cancer cells. In DU145 cells, specific FRS2 suppression inhibited FGF induced signalling. This effect was not apparent in cells stably over-expressing FRS3. Indeed FRS3 over-expression resulted in enhanced proliferation (p = 0.005) compared to control cells. Given this functional redundancy, we tested the therapeutic principle of dual targeting of FRS2 and FRS3 in prostate cancer. Co-suppression of FRS2 and FRS3 significantly inhibited ERK activation with a concomitant reduction in cell proliferation (p < 0.05), migration and invasion (p < 0.05). Synchronous knockdown of FRS2 and FRS3 with exposure to cytotoxic irradiation resulted in a significant reduction in prostate cancer cell survival compared to irradiation alone (p < 0.05). Importantly, this synergistic effect was not observed in benign cells. Finally, we investigated expression of FRS2 and FRS3 transcript in a cohort of micro-dissected tumors of different grades as well as by immunohistochemistry in clinical biopsies. Here, we did not observe any difference in expression between benign and malignant biopsies.


These results suggest functional overlap of FRS2 and FRS3 in mediating mitogenic FGF signalling in the prostate. FRS2 and FRS3 are not over-expressed in tumours but targeted dual inhibition may selectively adversely affect malignant but not benign prostate cells.

Prostate cancer; FGF signalling; FRS2; FRS3; Adaptor proteins