Identification of a long non-coding RNA as a novel biomarker and potential therapeutic target

Metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) is still an incurable disease. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may be an overlooked source of cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Researchers at the BC Cancer Agency Cancer Research Centre, Canada performed RNA sequencing on paired metastatic/non-metastatic PCa xenografts derived from clinical specimens. The most highly up-regulated transcript was LOC728606, a lncRNA now designated PCAT18. PCAT18 is specifically expressed in the prostate compared to 11 other normal tissues (p<0.05) and up-regulated in PCa compared to 15 other neoplasms (p<0.001). Cancer-specific up-regulation of PCAT18 was confirmed on an independent dataset of PCa and benign prostatic hyperplasia samples (p<0.001). PCAT18 was detectable in plasma samples and increased incrementally from healthy individuals to those with localized and metastatic PCa (p<0.01). The researchers identified a PCAT18-associated expression signature (PES), which is highly PCa-specific and activated in metastatic vs. primary PCa samples (p<1E-4, odds ratio>2). The PES was significantly associated with androgen receptor (AR) signalling. Accordingly, AR activation dramatically up-regulated PCAT18 expression in vitro and in vivo. PCAT18 silencing significantly (p<0.001) inhibited PCa cell proliferation and triggered caspase 3/7 activation, with no effect on non-neoplastic cells. PCAT18 silencing also inhibited PCa cell migration (p<0.01) and invasion (p<0.01). These results position PCAT18 as a potential therapeutic target and biomarker for metastatic PCa.

  • Crea F, Watahiki A, Quagliata L, Xue H, Pikor L, Parolia A, Wang Y, Lin D, Lam WL, Farrar WL, Isogai T, Morant R, Castori-Eppenberger S, Chi KN, Wang Y, Helgason CD. (2014) Identification of a long non-coding RNA as a novel biomarker and potential therapeutic target for metastatic prostate cancer. Oncotarget [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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