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Pegylated kunitz domain inhibitor suppresses hepsin-mediated invasive tumor growth and metastasis

, : Pegylated kunitz domain inhibitor suppresses hepsin-mediated invasive tumor growth and metastasis. Cancer Research 69(21): 8395-8402

The transmembrane serine protease hepsin is one of the most highly upregulated genes in prostate cancer. Here, we investigated its tumor-promoting activity by use of a mouse orthotopic prostate cancer model. First, we compared the tumor growth of low hepsin-expressing LnCaP-17 cells with hepsin-overexpressing LnCaP-34 cells. After implantation of cells into the left anterior prostate lobe, LnCaP-34 tumors not only grew faster based on increased serum prostate-specific antigen levels but also metastasized to local lymph nodes and, most remarkably, invaded the contralateral side of the prostate at a rate of 100% compared with only 18% for LnCaP-17 tumors. The increased tumor growth was not due to nonspecific gene expression changes and was not predicted from the unaltered in vitro growth and invasion of LnCaP-34 cells. A likely explanation is that the in vivo effects of hepsin were mediated by specific hepsin substrates present in the tumor stroma. In a second study, mice bearing LnCaP-34 tumors were treated with a PEGylated form of Kunitz domain-1, a potent hepsin active site inhibitor derived from hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 (K(i)(app) 0.30 +/- 0.02 nmol/L). Treatment of established tumors with PEGylated Kunitz domain-1 decreased contralateral prostate invasion (46% weight reduction) and lymph node metastasis (50% inhibition). Moreover, serum prostate-specific antigen level remained reduced during the entire treatment period, reaching a maximal reduction of 76% after 5 weeks of dosing. The findings show that hepsin promotes invasive prostate tumor growth and metastasis and suggest that active site-directed hepsin inhibition could be effective in prostate cancer therapy.


PMID: 19843851

DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1995

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