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  • Insights into homeobox B9: a propeller for metastasis in dormant prostate cancer progenitor cells.

Insights into homeobox B9: a propeller for metastasis in dormant prostate cancer progenitor cells.

British journal of cancer (2021-07-12)
Yi Sui, Wei Hu, Wei Zhang, Dejian Li, Hongbo Zhu, Qinghua You, Rujian Zhu, Qingtong Yi, Tao Tang, Lili Gao, Shengjuan Zhu, Tao Yang
ABSTRACT

Metastasis is the major cause of treatment failure and cancer-related deaths in prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Our previous study demonstrated that a CD44+ subpopulation isolated from PCa cells or tumours possesses both stem cell properties and metastatic potential, serving as metastatic prostate cancer stem cells (mPCSCs) in PCa metastasis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, we established PCa models via the orthotopic and subcutaneous implantation of different human PCa cancer cell lines, and compared the metastatic efficacy, after which process function analysis of target genes was pinpointed. Several novel differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between orthotopic and ectopic tumours were identified. Among them, human homeobox B9 (HOXB9) transcription factor was found to be essential for PCa metastasis, as evidenced by the diminished number of lung metastatic foci derived from orthotopic implantation with HOXB9-deficient CWR22 cells, compared with the control. In addition, HOXB9 protein expression was upregulated in PCa tissues, compared with paracancer and benign prostate hyperplasia tissues. It was also positively correlated with Gleason scores. Gain- and loss-of-function assays showed that HOXB9 altered the expression of various tumour metastasis- and cancer stem cell (CSC) growth-related genes in a transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ)-dependent manner. Moreover, HOXB9 was overexpressed in an ALDH+CD44+CXCR4+CD24+ subpopulation of PCa cells that exhibited enhanced TGFβ-dependent tumorigenic and metastatic abilities, compared with other isogenic PCa cells. This suggests that HOXB9 may contribute to PCa tumorigenesis and metastasis via TGFβ signalling. Of note, ALDH+CD44+CXCR4+CD24+-PCa cells exhibited resistance to castration and antiandrogen therapy and were present in human PCa tissues. Taken together, our study identified HOXB9 as a critical regulator of metastatic mPCSC behaviour. This occurs through altering the expression of a panel of CSC growth- and invasion/metastasis-related genes via TGFβ signalling. Thus, targeting HOXB9 is a potential novel therapeutic PCa treatment strategy.

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