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J Cell Physiol. 2014 Sep;229(9):1170-6. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24546.

Dependence of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) stem cells on CRPC-associated fibroblasts.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; Institute for Genetic Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.


We previously established a role for cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) in enhancing the self-renewal and differentiation potentials of putative prostate cancer stem cells (CSC). Our published work focused on androgen-dependent prostate cancer (ADPC) using the conditional Pten deletion mouse model. Employing the same model, we now describe the interaction of CAF and CSC in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). CAF isolated from ADPC (ADPCAF) and from CRPC (CRPCAF) were compared in terms of their ability to support organoid formation and tumor initiation by CSC from CRPC (CRPCSC) in vitro and in vivo. CRPCSC formed spheroids in vitro and well-differentiated glandular structures under the renal capsules of recipient mice in vivo more effectively in the presence of CRPCAF compared to ADPCAF. Furthermore, whereas CSC with CAF from ADPC formed mostly well-differentiated tumors in our previous study, we now show that CRPCSC, when combined with CRPCAF (but not ADPCAF), can form aggressive, poorly-differentiated tumors. The potential of CRPCAF to support organoid/tumor formation by CRPCSC remained greater even when compared to 10-fold more ADPCAF, suggesting that paracrine factors produced specifically by CRPCAF preferentially potentiate the stemness and tumorigenic properties of the corresponding CSC. This apparently unique property of CRPCAF was notable when the CAF and CSC were grafted in either intact or castrated recipient mice. In both environments, CRPCAF induced in the epithelial compartment higher proliferative activity compared to ADPCAF, indicated by a higher Ki67 index. Factors released by CRPCAF to regulate CRPCSC may be targeted to develop novel therapeutic approaches to manage advanced prostate cancer.

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