Therapy-induced developmental reprogramming of prostate cancer cells and acquired therapy resistance

Treatment-induced neuroendocrine transdifferentiation (NEtD) complicates therapies for metastatic prostate cancer (PCa). Based on evidence that PCa cells can transdifferentiate to other neuroectodermally-derived cell lineages in vitro, we proposed that NEtD requires first an intermediary reprogramming to metastable cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) of a neural class and we demonstrate that several different AR+/PSA+ PCa cell lines were efficiently reprogrammed to, maintained and propagated as CSCs by growth in androgen-free neural/neural crest (N/NC) stem medium. Such reprogrammed cells lost features of prostate differentiation; gained features of N/NC stem cells and tumor-initiating potential; were resistant to androgen signaling inhibition; and acquired an invasive phenotype in vitro and in vivo. When placed back into serum-containing mediums, reprogrammed cells could be re-differentiated to N-/NC-derived cell lineages or return back to an AR+ prostate-like state. Once returned, the AR+ cells were resistant to androgen signaling inhibition. Acute androgen deprivation or anti-androgen treatment in serum-containing medium led to the transient appearance of a sub-population of cells with similar characteristics. Finally, a 132 gene signature derived from reprogrammed PCa cell lines distinguished tumors from PCa patients with adverse outcomes. This model may explain neural manifestations of PCa associated with lethal disease. The metastable nature of the reprogrammed stem-like PCa cells suggests that cycles of PCa cell reprogramming followed by re-differentiation may support disease progression and therapeutic resistance. The ability of a gene signature from reprogrammed PCa cells to identify tumors from patients with metastasis or PCa-specific mortality implies that developmental reprogramming is linked to aggressive tumor behaviors.

Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Mannan Nouri, Josselin Caradec, Amy Anne Lubik, Na Li, Brett G Hollier, Mandeep Takhar, Manuel Altimirano-Dimas, Mengqian Chen, Mani Roshan-Moniri, Miriam Butler, Melanie Lehman, Jennifer Bishop, Sarah Truong, Shih-Chieh Huang, Dawn Cochrane, Michael Cox, Colin Collins, Martin Gleave, Nicholas Erho, Mohamed Alshalafa, Elai Davicioni, Colleen Nelson, Sheryl Gregory-Evans, R Jeffrey Karnes, Robert B Jenkins, Eric A Klein, Ralph Buttyan

Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver, Canada., Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia., GenomeDX Biosciences, Vancouver, Canada., Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, South Carolina, USA., Department of Molecular Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada., Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada., Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA., Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA., Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


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