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Cancer Res. 2010 Jan 1;70(1):347-56. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1252.

Altered expression of neurotensin receptors is associated with the differentiation state of prostate cancer.

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YCR Cancer Research Unit, Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, United Kingdom.


In prostate cancer, traditional treatments such as androgen response manipulation often provide only temporary resolution of disease, with emergence of a more aggressive, androgen-independent tumor following initial therapy. To treat recurrent disease, cell surface proteins that are specifically overexpressed on malignant cells may be useful for generating targeted therapeutics. Recent evidence suggests that neurotensin receptors (NTR) are recruited in advanced prostate cancer as an alternative growth pathway in the absence of androgens. In this study, we assessed the potential use of these receptors as targets by analyzing NTR expression patterns in human prostate cell lines and primary prostate tumor cell cultures derived from patient samples. In primary tumor cell cultures, NTR1 was upregulated in cells with a basal phenotype (cytokeratin 1/5/10/14+), whereas NTR2 and NTR3 were upregulated in cells with luminal phenotype (cytokeratin 18+). Similar patterns of NTR expression occurred in benign prostate tissue sections, implicating differentiation state as a basis for the differences observed in tumor cell lines. Our findings support the use of NTRs as tools for therapeutic targeting in prostate cancers composed of both poorly differentiated and/or well-differentiated cells.

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