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Cancer Res. 2011 Aug 1;71(15):5154-63. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-4513. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

IGFBP-3 is a metastasis suppression gene in prostate cancer.

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  • 1Mattel Children's Hospital, CA, USA.


The insulin-like growth factor binding protein IGFBP-3 is a proapoptotic and antiangiogenic protein in prostate cancer (CaP). Epidemiologic studies suggest that low IGFBP-3 is associated with greater risk of aggressive, metastatic prostate cancers, but in vivo functional data are lacking. Here we show that mice that are genetically deficient in IGFBP-3 exhibit weaker growth of primary prostate tumors but higher incidence of metastatic disease. Prostates in IGFBP-3 knockout mice (IGFBP-3KO mice) failed to undergo apoptosis after castration. Spontaneous prostate tumors did not develop in IGFBP-3KO mice, but splenic lymphomas occurred in 23% of female IGFBP-3KO mice by 80 weeks of age. To assess the effects of IGFBP-3 deficiency on prostate cancer development, we crossed IGFBP-3KO mice with a c-Myc-driven model of CaP that develops slow-growing, nonmetastatic tumors. By 24 weeks of age, well-differentiated prostate cancers were observed in all mice regardless of IGFBP-3 status. However, by 80 weeks of age IGFBP-3KO mice tended to exhibit larger prostate tumors than control mice. More strikingly, lung metastases were observed at this time in 55% of the IGFBP-3KO mice but none in the control animals. Cell lines established from IGFBP-3KO:Myc tumors displayed more aggressive phenotypes in proliferation, invasion, and colony formation assays, relative to control Myc tumor cell lines. In addition, Myc:IGFBP-3KO cells exhibited evidence of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our findings established a function for IGFBP-3 in suppressing metastasis in prostate cancer, and they also offered the first reported transgenic model of spontaneous metastatic prostate cancer for studies of this advanced stage of disease.

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