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Br J Cancer. 2009 May 19;100(10):1608-16. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605057. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K: altered pattern of expression associated with diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer.

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Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Largo Rosanna Benzi, Genova, Italy.


Using proteomic analysis of the nuclear matrix (NM), we found that heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K), a member of the hnRNP family with pleiotropic functions, was differentially expressed in prostate cancer (PCa) tissues. This study aimed to characterise the expression of hnRNP K and its subcellular localisation in PCa, utilising immunohistochemical and quantitative western blot techniques. Furthermore, the hnRNP K expression was studied in human PCa cell lines in order to determine its modulation by bicalutamide, the anti-androgen widely used in PCa therapy. Immunohistochemical staining of paraffin-embedded tissues showed that hnRNP K was overexpressed in PCa, where it was localised both in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. Staining of non-tumour tissues showed exclusively nuclear localisation and a less intense or absent signal. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that the hnRNP K level within the NM was higher in PCa compared with non-tumour tissues and closely correlated with Gleason score (P=0.008). Higher expression within the NM was significantly (P=0.032) associated with poor prognosis. In two-dimensional western blot analysis hnRNP K presented several isoforms; the one with pI 5.1 was the most differently expressed between non-tumour and PCa tissues. Preliminary results indicate that hnRNP K can be modulated in vitro by a non-steroidal anti-androgen. Taken together, our findings suggest that hnRNP K has potential implications at the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic levels in PCa.

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