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Translocator Protein (TSPO) as a Potential Biomarker in Human Cancers

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa
Research, Innovation & Engagements Portfolio, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban 4031, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2176;
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 24 June 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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TSPO is a receptor involved in the regulation of cellular proliferation, apoptosis and mitochondrial functions. Previous studies showed that the expression of TSPO protein correlated positively with tumour malignancy and negatively with patient survival. The aim of this study was to determine the transcription of Tspo mRNA in various types of normal and cancer tissues. In situ hybridization was performed to localise the Tspo mRNA in various human normal and cancer tissues. The relative level of Tspo mRNA was quantified using fluorescent intensity and visual estimation of colorimetric staining. RT-PCR was used to confirm these mRNA levels in normal lung, lung cancer, liver cancer, and cervical cancer cell lines. There was a significant increase in the level of transcription in liver, prostate, kidney, and brain cancers while a significant decrease was observed in cancers of the colon and lung. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed that the mRNA levels of Tspo are higher in a normal lung cell line than in a lung cancer cell line. An increase in the expression levels of Tspo mRNA is not necessarily a good diagnostic biomarker in most cancers with changes not being large enough to be significantly different when detected by in situ hybridisation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tspo; prostate cancer; stomach cancer; colon cancer; liver cancer; lung cancer; kidney cancer; breast cancer; brain cancer Tspo; prostate cancer; stomach cancer; colon cancer; liver cancer; lung cancer; kidney cancer; breast cancer; brain cancer

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bhoola, N.H.; Mbita, Z.; Hull, R.; Dlamini, Z. Translocator Protein (TSPO) as a Potential Biomarker in Human Cancers. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2176.

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