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Loss of NKX3.1 favors vascular endothelial growth factor-C expression in prostate cancer.

Zhang H., Muders M.H., Li J., Rinaldo F., Tindall D.J., Datta K.

Decreased levels of the prostate-specific homeobox protein NKX3.1 are correlated with hormone-refractory and metastatic prostate cancer. Thus, it is compelling to define the NKX3.1-regulated genes that may be important for the progression of the advanced stage of the disease. In this study, we showed that vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) is one such target gene of NKX3.1. NKX3.1 inhibited VEGF-C expression in prostate cancer, and the loss of NKX3.1 led to increased VEGF-C expression. Histone deacetylase 1 acted as a corepressor of VEGF-C expression along with NKX3.1. Activated RalA acted in synergy with the loss of NKX3.1 for VEGF-C transcription. Patients with deletions at chromosome 8p21.1-p21.2 as a sole deletion developed lymph node metastasis. Interestingly, the higher expression of VEGF-C in prostate cancer is also correlated with lymph node metastasis. Therefore, regulation of VEGF-C expression by NKX3.1 provides a possible mechanism by which the loss of NKX3.1 protein level leads to lymphangiogenesis in the late stages of advanced prostate cancer.

Cancer Res. 68:8770-8778(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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