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Mol Cancer Res. 2007 Jun;5(6):585-603.

Coculture with prostate cancer cells alters endoglin expression and attenuates transforming growth factor-beta signaling in reactive bone marrow stromal cells.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


A dynamic interplay between prostate cancer cells and reactive bone stroma modulates growth of metastases within bone. We used microarray analysis to screen for changes in gene expression in bone marrow stromal cells cocultured with prostate cancer cells and found reduced expression of endoglin, a transmembrane glycoprotein that functions as an auxiliary coreceptor for members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) family of cytokines. The downstream TGF-beta/bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathway including Smad1 and Smad2/3 also was attenuated, as was Smad-dependent gene transcription. Smad1/5/8-dependent inhibitor of DNA binding 1 expression and Smad2/3-dependent plasminogen activator inhibitor I expression both were decreased and were accompanied by decreased cell proliferation. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of endoglin in HS-5 cells verified that the effects on signaling were a direct result of the attenuation of endoglin. These data illustrate that endoglin acts as a positive regulator of both activin receptor-like kinase 1-induced Smad1/5/8 activation and activin receptor-like kinase 5-induced Smad2/3 activation in bone marrow stromal cells. In addition, the data illustrate that one early event of metastasis upon the arrival of prostate cancer cells into the bone stroma is attenuated endoglin expression in the stromal cells, which subsequently alters Smad signaling and cell proliferation. We hypothesize that coculture of bone marrow stromal cells with prostate cancer cells alters TGF-beta signaling in the stromal cells, ultimately facilitating growth of the cancer cells in the bone compartment. Collectively, these studies suggest that prostate cancer cells modulate TGF-beta responsiveness of bone marrow stroma as one means of facilitating their own growth in bone.

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