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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1996 Dec;59(5-6):501-11.

Effects of intermittent androgen suppression on the stem cell composition and the expression of the TRPM-2 (clusterin) gene in the Shionogi carcinoma.

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Department of Cancer Endocrinology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.


The proportion of tumorigenic stem cells and the expression of the apoptosis-related gene, TRPM-2 (clusterin), were studied in populations of Shionogi carcinoma cells subjected to multiple cycles of androgen withdrawal and replacement (intermittent androgen suppression). The parent androgen-dependent cell line was initially transplanted into a male mouse which was castrated when the estimated weight of the resultant tumour became approximately 3 g. After the tumour had regressed to 40% or less of the original weight, it was transplanted into the next non-castrated male. This was repeated for four cycles of transplantation and castration-induced apoptosis before the tumour progressed to an androgen-independent state. The proportion of total stem cells in the tumour, as determined by in vivo limiting dilution assays in male mice, was constant during the first three cycles but increased 15-fold between the third and fourth cycles. In the parent androgen-dependent tumour before androgen ablation, the androgen-independent stem cell population formed 0.8% of the total stem cell compartment. After the fourth cycle this population increased to 47%; a population of similar size (33%, P = 0.8) was found in the androgen-independent recurrent form of the tumour induced by one-time castration. Whether androgen withdrawal therapy was intermittent or continuous, conversion to androgen independence thus occurred when one-third to one-half of the total stem cell compartment was populated by androgen-independent stem cells. The androgen-repressed TRPM-2 (clusterin) gene was actively expressed in regressing tumours after androgen ablation, and also became constitutively expressed in non-regressing tumours after the first and subsequent cycles of androgen withdrawal. Staining of cytoplasm and nuclei with anti-clusterin antibody was observed in androgen-dependent tumour cells after each cycle of intermittent androgen suppression; the nuclear staining was more intense in recurrent androgen-independent cells. The anomalous nuclear localization of clusterin, an anti-cytolytic TRPM-2 encoded protein, may serve to inhibit early events in the apoptotic process and thereby foster the generation and outgrowth of androgen-independent stem cells in an androgen-depleted environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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