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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Oct;1763(10):1090-7. Epub 2006 Aug 24.

ATM activation is accompanied with earlier stages of prostate tumorigenesis.

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Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8N 4A6.


The ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) kinase plays an essential role in maintaining genome integrity by coordinating cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and DNA damage repair. Phosphorylation of ATM at serine 1981 (ATMpSer1981) by DNA damage activates ATM, which subsequently phosphorylates H2AX Ser139 (gammaH2AX), Chk2 Thr68 (Chk2pThr68), and p53 Ser15 (p53pSer15). To determine the role of the ATM pathway in prostate cancer tumorigenesis, we have analyzed 35 primary prostate cancer specimens for ATMpSer1981 (ATM activation), Chk2pThr68, gammaH2AX, and p53pSer15 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in normal glands, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PINs), and carcinomas. Increases in the intensities of ATMpSer1981, Chk2pThr68, and gammaH2AX and in the percentage of cells that are positive for ATMpSer1981, Chk2pThr68, or gammaH2AX were observed in PINs (p<0.001) compared to normal prostatic glands and carcinoma. However, this pattern of immunostaining was not seen for p53pSer15. Thus, ATM and Chk2 are specifically activated in PINs. As PINs are generally regarded as precursors of prostatic carcinoma, our results suggest that ATM and Chk2 activation at earlier stages of prostate tumorigenesis suppresses tumor progression, with attenuation of ATM activation leading to cancer progression.

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