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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Candidate pathways and genes for prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of gene expression data

Ivan P Gorlov1*, Jinyoung Byun1, Olga Y Gorlova2, Ana M Aparicio1, Eleni Efstathiou1 and Christopher J Logothetis1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

2 Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

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BMC Medical Genomics 2009, 2:48  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-2-48

Published: 4 August 2009

Abstract

Backgound

The genetic mechanisms of prostate tumorigenesis remain poorly understood, but with the advent of gene expression array capabilities, we can now produce a large amount of data that can be used to explore the molecular and genetic mechanisms of prostate tumorigenesis.

Methods

We conducted a meta-analysis of gene expression data from 18 gene array datasets targeting transition from normal to localized prostate cancer and from localized to metastatic prostate cancer. We functionally annotated the top 500 differentially expressed genes and identified several candidate pathways associated with prostate tumorigeneses.

Results

We found the top differentially expressed genes to be clustered in pathways involving integrin-based cell adhesion: integrin signaling, the actin cytoskeleton, cell death, and cell motility pathways. We also found integrins themselves to be downregulated in the transition from normal prostate tissue to primary localized prostate cancer. Based on the results of this study, we developed a collagen hypothesis of prostate tumorigenesis. According to this hypothesis, the initiating event in prostate tumorigenesis is the age-related decrease in the expression of collagen genes and other genes encoding integrin ligands. This concomitant depletion of integrin ligands leads to the accumulation of ligandless integrin and activation of integrin-associated cell death. To escape integrin-associated death, cells suppress the expression of integrins, which in turn alters the actin cytoskeleton, elevates cell motility and proliferation, and disorganizes prostate histology, contributing to the histologic progression of prostate cancer and its increased metastasizing potential.

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that prostate tumor progression is associated with the suppression of integrin-based cell adhesion. Suppression of integrin expression driven by integrin-mediated cell death leads to increased cell proliferation and motility and increased tumor malignancy.