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Cancer Res. 2006 Jun 15;66(12):6199-209.

EZC-prostate models offer high sensitivity and specificity for noninvasive imaging of prostate cancer progression and androgen receptor action.

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Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In vivo imaging advances have greatly expanded the use of animal cancer models. Herein, we describe two new models that permit prostate imaging ex vivo, in vivo, and in utero. Further, we show the use of these models for detecting small metastasis and testing reagents that modulate the androgen receptor (AR) axis. A luciferase reporter gene was directed to the prostate epithelium using three composite promoters called human kallikrein 2 (hK2)-E3/P, PSA-E2/P, and ARR2PB, derived from hK2, PSA, and rat probasin regulatory elements, to generate the EZC1, EZC2, and EZC3-prostate mice, respectively. EZC2 and EZC3-prostate display robust expression in the prostate with only minimal detectable expression in other organs, including testes and epididymis. Luciferase expression was detected as early as embryonic day 13 (E13) in the urogenital track. To image prostate cancer progression, lines of EZC mice were bred with prostate cancer models TRAMP and JOCK1, and imaged longitudinally. When crossed with prostate cancer models, EZC3 facilitated detection of metastatic lesions although total prostate luciferase expression was static or reduced due to weakening of AR-regulated promoters. Castration reduced luciferase expression by 90% and 97% in EZC2 and EZC3 mice, respectively, and use of GnRH antagonist also led to extensive inhibition of reporter activity. The EZC-prostate model permits prostate imaging in vivo and should be useful for imaging prostate development, growth, metastasis, and response to treatment noninvasively and longitudinally. These models also provide powerful new reagents for developing improved drugs that inhibit the AR axis.

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