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Mol Cancer Res. 2009 Jul;7(7):1119-31. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0568. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Parathyroid hormone-related protein regulates cell survival pathways via integrin alpha6beta4-mediated activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1031, USA.


Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is expressed by human prostatic tissues and cancer cell lines. PTHrP enhances tumor cell growth and metastasis in vivo and up-regulates proinvasive integrin alpha6beta4 expression in vitro. Hallmarks of malignant tumor cells include resistance to apoptosis and anchorage-independent cell growth. In this study, we used the human prostate cancer cell lines C4-2 and PC-3 as model systems to study the effects of PTHrP on these processes. We report that PTHrP protects these cells from doxorubicin-induced apoptosis and promotes anchorage-independent cell growth via an intracrine pathway. Conversely, autocrine/paracrine PTHrP action increases apoptosis in C4-2 cells and has no effect on apoptosis in PC-3 cells. The intracrine effects of PTHrP on apoptosis are mediated via activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway. PTHrP also affects the phosphorylation state of Akt substrates implicated in apoptosis suppression, including glycogen synthase kinase-3 and Bad. The prosurvival effects of PTHrP are accompanied by increases in the ratio of antiapoptotic to proapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family and in levels of c-myc. PTHrP also increases nuclear factor-kappaB activity via a PI3K-dependent pathway. Integrin alpha6beta4 is known to activate PI3K. Here, we also show that knockdown of integrin alpha6beta4 negates the PTHrP-mediated activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Taken together, these observations provide evidence of a link between PTHrP and the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway through integrin alpha6beta4, resulting in the activation of survival pathways. Targeting PTHrP production in prostate cancer may thus prove therapeutically beneficial.

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