Proteolytic and non-proteolytic roles for PSA and related kallikrein serine proteases in prostate cancer progression [ 2007 - 2009 ]

Also known as: The role of two proteins, PSA and kallikrein 4, in cellular changes that lead to more aggressive prostate cancer

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Judith Clements (Principal investigator) ,  Prof David Nicol

Brief description Prostate cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer in men in Western countries. Prostate cancer metastasis to bone and other organs is the painful end stage of this disease. The level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in blood is often used as a marker of prostate cancer. PSA is one of 15 related enzymes in the kallikrein family of enzymes, which may be involved in breakdown of the tissue that surrounds cells in the prostate. As prostate cancer metastasis first requires spread from the primary tumour and out of the prostate, it is possible that high production of these kallikrein enzymes by prosttae cancer cells may increase the ability of these cells to metastasise. In previous work, we have studied prostate cancer cells that we have engineered to make the kallikreins, PSA and kallikrein 4. Those cells that make PSA or kallikrein 4 are more elongated in shape and are better able to move across a porous barrier. Another important change is that these cells stop producing a protein that is usually found on the surface of these cells and is important for helping cells to stay attached to each other. When this protein is lost, these tumour cells no longer stay attached to each other and are more likely to move out of the prostate and spread into other parts of the body. The changes we observed in the cells that produce PSA and kallikrein 4 are typical of these more aggressive cancer cells. In this project, we will look at how PSA and kallikrein 4 cause the cells to undergo these changes. The majority of prostate cancer deaths arise from cancer that has spread from the primary tumour and out of the prostate capsule. This project aims to further understand the causes of prostate cancer spread and metastasis. This is a vital research priority if we are to address the mortality associated with prostate cancer metastasis and may lead to new treatment approaches for advanced metastic prostate cancer.

Funding Amount $AUD 480,128.39

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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