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Am J Pathol. 2011 Nov;179(5):2559-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.07.011. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Integrin αv expression is required for the acquisition of a metastatic stem/progenitor cell phenotype in human prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Integrins participate in multiple cellular processes, including cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, survival, and the activation of growth factor receptors. Recent studies have shown that expression of αv integrins is elevated in the prostate cancer stem/progenitor cell subpopulation compared with more differentiated, committed precursors. Here, we examine the functional role of αv integrin receptor expression in the acquisition of a metastatic stem/progenitor phenotype in human prostate cancer. Stable knockdown of αv integrins expression in PC-3M-Pro4 prostate cancer cells coincided with a significant decrease of prostate cancer stem/progenitor cell characteristics (α2 integrin, CD44, and ALDH(hi)) and decreased expression of invasion-associated genes Snail, Snail2, and Twist. Consistent with these observations, αv-knockdown strongly inhibited the clonogenic and migratory potentials of human prostate cancer cells in vitro and significantly decreased tumorigenicity and metastatic ability in preclinical models of orthotopic growth and bone metastasis. Our data indicate that integrin αv expression is functionally involved in the maintenance of a highly migratory, mesenchymal cellular phenotype as well as the acquisition of a stem/progenitor phenotype in human prostate cancer cells with metastasis-initiating capacity.

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