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Special Issue "Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Isaac Kim
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Interests: prostate caner; robotic surgery; androgen signaling; castration resistance; macrophages

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The prevalence of prostate cancer in Western countries is extremely high, and tends to increase with age. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men worldwide.

The understanding of the cancer biology of patients suffering from prostate cancer is key for making progress on the treatment of these patients. Recent technical developments that allow better resolution have increased our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that are important for prostate cancer biology and disease evolution.

We would like to invite manuscripts deciphering the molecular and biochemical development and progression of prostate cancer. We are particularly interested in the mechanism of second-line antiandrogen therapy resistance in prostate cancer. This Special Issue will focus on the current status and challenges in treating early and progressive prostate cancer, and understanding it at a molecular, biochemical, and genetic level.

Dr. Isaac Kim
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Validation of SV2A-Targeted PET Imaging for Noninvasive Assessment of Neuroendocrine Differentiation in Prostate Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13085; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313085 - 03 Dec 2021
Viewed by 137
Abstract
Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is an aggressive and lethal variant of prostate cancer (PCa), and it remains a diagnostic challenge. Herein we report our findings of using synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 isoform A (SV2A) as a promising marker for positron emission tomography (PET) [...] Read more.
Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is an aggressive and lethal variant of prostate cancer (PCa), and it remains a diagnostic challenge. Herein we report our findings of using synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 isoform A (SV2A) as a promising marker for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of neuroendocrine differentiation (NED). The bioinformatic analyses revealed an amplified SV2A gene expression in clinical samples of NEPC versus castration-resistant PCa with adenocarcinoma characteristics (CRPC-Adeno). Importantly, significantly upregulated SV2A protein levels were found in both NEPC cell lines and tumor tissues. PET imaging studies were carried out in NEPC xenograft models with 18F-SynVesT-1. Although 18F-SynVesT-1 is not a cancer imaging agent, it showed a significant uptake level in the SV2A+ tumor (NCI-H660: 0.70 ± 0.14 %ID/g at 50–60 min p.i.). The SV2A blockade resulted in a significant reduction of tumor uptake (0.25 ± 0.03 %ID/g, p = 0.025), indicating the desired SV2A imaging specificity. Moreover, the comparative PET imaging study showed that the DU145 tumors could be clearly visualized by 18F-SynVesT-1 but not 68Ga-PSMA-11 nor 68Ga-DOTATATE, further validating the role of SV2A-targeted imaging for noninvasive assessment of NED in PCa. In conclusion, we demonstrated that SV2A, highly expressed in NEPC, can serve as a promising target for noninvasive imaging evaluation of NED. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Article
Optimization of Apta-Sensing Platform for Detection of Prostate Cancer Marker PCA3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12701; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312701 - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 241
Abstract
This work is a continuation of our research into the development of simple, reliable, and cost-effective methods for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa). The proposed method is based on the electrochemical detection of the PCA3 biomarker of PCa (long non-coded RNA [...] Read more.
This work is a continuation of our research into the development of simple, reliable, and cost-effective methods for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa). The proposed method is based on the electrochemical detection of the PCA3 biomarker of PCa (long non-coded RNA transcript expressed in urine) using a specific aptamer labeled with a redox group (methylene blue). The electrochemical measurements (cyclic voltammograms) obtained from electrodes functionalized with the aptamer were complemented in this work by another biosensing technique: total internal reflection ellipsometry (TIRE). In addition to proving the concept of the detection of PCA3 in low concentrations down to 90 pM, this study improved our understanding of the processes by which PCA3 binds to its specific aptamer. The high specificity of the binding of PCA3 to the aptamer was assessed by studying the binding kinetics, which yielded an affinity constant (KD) of 2.58 × 10−9 M. Additional XPS measurements confirmed the strong covalent binding of aptamers to gold and showed spectral features associated with PCA3 to aptamer binding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Article
Synergistic Interaction of CPP2 Coupled with Thiazole Derivates Combined with Clotrimazole and Antineoplastic Drugs in Prostate and Colon Cancer Cell Lines
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111984 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 288
Abstract
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are small peptide sequences used mainly as cellular delivery agents that are able to efficiently deliver cargo into cells. Some CPPs also demonstrate intrinsic anticancer properties. Previously, our group developed a new family of CPP2-thiazole conjugates that have been shown [...] Read more.
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are small peptide sequences used mainly as cellular delivery agents that are able to efficiently deliver cargo into cells. Some CPPs also demonstrate intrinsic anticancer properties. Previously, our group developed a new family of CPP2-thiazole conjugates that have been shown to effectively reduce the proliferation of different cancer cells. This work aimed to combine these CPP2-thiazole conjugates with paclitaxel (PTX) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in PC-3 prostate and HT-29 colon cancer cells, respectively, to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of these combinations. We also combined these CPP2-thiazole conjugates with clotrimazole (CLZ), an antifungal agent that has been shown to decrease cancer cell proliferation. Cell viability was evaluated using MTT and SRB assays. Drug interaction was quantified using the Chou–Talalay method. We determined that CPP2 did not have significant activity in these cells and demonstrate that N-terminal modification of this peptide enhanced its anticancer activity in both cell lines. Our results also showed an uneven response between cell lines to the proposed combinations. PC-3 cells were more responsive to the combination of CPP2-thiazole conjugates with CLZ than PTX and were more sensitive to these combinations than HT-29 cells. In addition, the interaction of drugs resulted in more synergism in PC-3 cells. These results suggest that N-terminal modification of CPP2 results in the enhanced anticancer activity of the peptide and demonstrates the potential of CPPs as adjuvants in cancer therapy. These results also validate that CLZ has significant anticancer activity both alone and in combination and support the strategy of drug repurposing coupled to drug combination for prostate cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Article
Atorvastatin Modulates the Efficacy of Electroporation and Calcium Electrochemotherapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(20), 11245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222011245 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 425
Abstract
Electroporation is influenced by the features of the targeted cell membranes, e.g., the cholesterol content and the surface tension of the membrane. The latter is eventually affected by the organization of actin fibers. Atorvastatin is a statin known to influence both the cholesterol [...] Read more.
Electroporation is influenced by the features of the targeted cell membranes, e.g., the cholesterol content and the surface tension of the membrane. The latter is eventually affected by the organization of actin fibers. Atorvastatin is a statin known to influence both the cholesterol content and the organization of actin. This work analyzes the effects of the latter on the efficacy of electroporation of cancer cells. In addition, herein, electroporation was combined with calcium chloride (CaEP) to assess as well the effects of the statin on the efficacy of electrochemotherapy. Cholesterol-rich cell lines MDA-MB231, DU 145, and A375 underwent (1) 48 h preincubation or (2) direct treatment with 50 nM atorvastatin. We studied the impact of the statin on cholesterol and actin fiber organization and analyzed the cells’ membrane permeability. The viability of cells subjected to PEF (pulsed electric field) treatments and CaEP with 5 mM CaCl2 was examined. Finally, to assess the safety of the therapy, we analyzed the N-and E-cadherin localization using confocal laser microscopy. The results of our investigation revealed that depending on the cell line, atorvastatin preincubation decreases the total cholesterol in the steroidogenic cells and induces reorganization of actin nearby the cell membrane. Under low voltage PEFs, actin reorganization is responsible for the increase in the electroporation threshold. However, when subject to high voltage PEF, the lipid composition of the cell membrane becomes the regulatory factor. Namely, preincubation with atorvastatin reduces the cytotoxic effect of low voltage pulses and enhances the cytotoxicity and cellular changes induced by high voltage pulses. The study confirms that the surface tension regulates of membrane permeability under low voltage PEF treatment. Accordingly, to reduce the unfavorable effects of preincubation with atorvastatin, electroporation of steroidogenic cells should be performed at high voltage and combined with a calcium supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Review

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Review
Genomic Features and Clinical Implications of Intraductal Carcinoma of the Prostate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313125 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2021
Viewed by 152
Abstract
Intraductal carcinoma of the prostate (IDC-P) is a rare and unique form of aggressive prostate carcinoma, which is characterized by an expansile proliferation of malignant prostatic epithelial cells within prostatic ducts or acini and the preservation of basal cell layers around the involved [...] Read more.
Intraductal carcinoma of the prostate (IDC-P) is a rare and unique form of aggressive prostate carcinoma, which is characterized by an expansile proliferation of malignant prostatic epithelial cells within prostatic ducts or acini and the preservation of basal cell layers around the involved glands. The vast majority of IDC-P tumors result from adjacent high-grade invasive cancer via the retrograde spreading of tumor cells into normal prostatic ducts or acini. A subset of IDC-P tumors is rarely derived from the de novo intraductal proliferation of premalignant cells. The presence of IDC-P in biopsy or surgical specimens is significantly associated with aggressive pathologic features, such as high Gleason grade, large tumor volume, and advanced tumor stage, and with poor clinical courses, including earlier biochemical recurrence, distant metastasis, and worse survival outcomes. These architectural and behavioral features of IDC-P may be driven by specific molecular properties. Notably, IDC-P possesses distinct genomic profiles, including higher rates of TMPRSS2–ERG gene fusions and PTEN loss, increased percentage of genomic instability, and higher prevalence of germline BRCA2 mutations. Considering that IDC-P tumors are usually resistant to conventional therapies for prostate cancer, further studies should be performed to develop optimal therapeutic strategies based on distinct genomic features, such as treatment with immune checkpoint blockades or poly (adenosine diphosphate–ribose) polymerase inhibitors for patients harboring increased genomic instability or BRCA2 mutations, as well as genetic counseling with genetic testing. Patient-derived xenografts and tumor organoid models can be the promising in vitro platforms for investigating the molecular features of IDC-P tumor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Review
Delineating the Molecular Events Underlying Development of Prostate Cancer Variants with Neuroendocrine/Small Cell Carcinoma Characteristics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12742; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312742 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 220
Abstract
The treatment landscape of prostate cancer has changed dramatically following the advent of novel systemic therapies, most of which target the androgen receptor (AR). Agents such as abiraterone, enzalutamide, apalutamide, darolutamide were designed to further suppress androgen receptor signaling following gonadal suppression achieved [...] Read more.
The treatment landscape of prostate cancer has changed dramatically following the advent of novel systemic therapies, most of which target the androgen receptor (AR). Agents such as abiraterone, enzalutamide, apalutamide, darolutamide were designed to further suppress androgen receptor signaling following gonadal suppression achieved by first-line androgen deprivation therapies. These potent AR targeting agents are increasingly used in the earlier stages of the disease spectrum with the goal of delaying disease progression and extending survival. Although these therapies are effective in controlling prostate tumors dependent on or addicted to AR signaling, prostate tumors surviving the onslaught of potent treatments may evolve and develop drug resistance. A substantial proportion of treatment failures can be explained by the development of treatment-induced aggressive prostate cancer variants such as neuroendocrine/small cell carcinoma. These emerging disease entities demand detailed characterization and precise definitions. We postulate that these treatment-induced prostate cancer entities should be defined molecularly to overcome the drawbacks associated with the current clinical and pathological definitions. A precise molecular definition conforms with current knowledge on the molecular evolution of this disease entity and will enable early detection and early intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Review
Role of PI3K-AKT-mTOR Pathway as a Pro-Survival Signaling and Resistance-Mediating Mechanism to Therapy of Prostate Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(20), 11088; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222011088 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 402
Abstract
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and androgen receptor (AR)-targeted therapy are the gold standard options for treating prostate cancer (PCa). These are initially effective, as localized and the early stage of metastatic disease are androgen- and castration-sensitive. The tumor strongly relies on systemic/circulating androgens [...] Read more.
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and androgen receptor (AR)-targeted therapy are the gold standard options for treating prostate cancer (PCa). These are initially effective, as localized and the early stage of metastatic disease are androgen- and castration-sensitive. The tumor strongly relies on systemic/circulating androgens for activating AR signaling to stimulate growth and progression. However, after a certain point, the tumor will eventually develop a resistant stage, where ADT and AR antagonists are no longer effective. Mechanistically, it seems that the tumor becomes more aggressive through adaptive responses, relies more on alternative activated pathways, and is less dependent on AR signaling. This includes hyperactivation of PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway, which is a central signal that regulates cell pro-survival/anti-apoptotic pathways, thus, compensating the blockade of AR signaling. The PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway is well-documented for its crosstalk between genomic and non-genomic AR signaling, as well as other signaling cascades. Such a reciprocal feedback loop makes it more complicated to target individual factor/signaling for treating PCa. Here, we highlight the role of PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling as a resistance mechanism for PCa therapy and illustrate the transition of prostate tumor from AR signaling-dependent to PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway-dependent. Moreover, therapeutic strategies with inhibitors targeting the PI3K-AKT-mTOR signal used in clinic and ongoing clinical trials are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Review
Exosomes as A Next-Generation Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool in Prostate Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(18), 10131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221810131 - 20 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have brought great momentum to the non-invasive liquid biopsy procedure for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of cancer. Despite the common use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) as a biomarker for prostate cancer, there is an unmet need for a more [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have brought great momentum to the non-invasive liquid biopsy procedure for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of cancer. Despite the common use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) as a biomarker for prostate cancer, there is an unmet need for a more specific diagnostic tool to detect tumor progression and recurrence. Exosomes, which are EVs that are released from all cells, play a large role in physiology and pathology, including cancer. They are involved in intercellular communication, immune function, and they are present in every bodily fluid studied—making them an excellent window into how cells are operating. With liquid biopsy, EVs can be isolated and analyzed, enabling an insight into a potential therapeutic value, serving as a vehicle for drugs or nucleic acids that have anti-neoplastic effects. The current application of advanced technology also points to higher-sensitivity detection methods that are minimally invasive. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of the significance of exosomes in prostate cancer and the potential diagnostic value of these EVs in disease progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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Review
Prostate Cancer Radiogenomics—From Imaging to Molecular Characterization
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(18), 9971; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22189971 - 15 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
Radiomics and genomics represent two of the most promising fields of cancer research, designed to improve the risk stratification and disease management of patients with prostate cancer (PCa). Radiomics involves a conversion of imaging derivate quantitative features using manual or automated algorithms, enhancing [...] Read more.
Radiomics and genomics represent two of the most promising fields of cancer research, designed to improve the risk stratification and disease management of patients with prostate cancer (PCa). Radiomics involves a conversion of imaging derivate quantitative features using manual or automated algorithms, enhancing existing data through mathematical analysis. This could increase the clinical value in PCa management. To extract features from imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the empiric nature of the analysis using machine learning and artificial intelligence could help make the best clinical decisions. Genomics information can be explained or decoded by radiomics. The development of methodologies can create more-efficient predictive models and can better characterize the molecular features of PCa. Additionally, the identification of new imaging biomarkers can overcome the known heterogeneity of PCa, by non-invasive radiological assessment of the whole specific organ. In the future, the validation of recent findings, in large, randomized cohorts of PCa patients, can establish the role of radiogenomics. Briefly, we aimed to review the current literature of highly quantitative and qualitative results from well-designed studies for the diagnoses, treatment, and follow-up of prostate cancer, based on radiomics, genomics and radiogenomics research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Prostate Cancer)
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