Early mRNA Expression of Neuroendocrine Differentiation Signals Predicts Recurrence After Radical Prostatectomy: A Transcriptomic Analysis

Panagiotis J. Vlachostergios, Athanasios Karathanasis, Christos N. Papandreou, Vassilios Tzortzis


Background: Neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) of prostate cancer (PC) is a process that often occurs under evolutionary pressure from pharmacologic blockade of androgen receptor signaling at advanced stages of the disease. Identifying a subset of early PC that has a higher likelihood to evolve into this entity is key for developing therapeutic strategies that could more effectively target this phenotype. This study aimed to assess the prognostic relevance of mRNA expression of major players involved in NED of primary prostate tumors.

Methods: RNA sequencing data from 122 patients with localized PC were analyzed. Transcript levels of key genes involved in NED, with a focus on endothelin axis and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), were assessed and were correlated with time to prostate specific antigen (PSA) recurrence. Copy number alteration of tumor suppressor genes and gene expression of additional signals hallmarking NED was compared between altered and unaltered groups, including lineage determining transcription factors, transcriptional repressors, cell cycle and epigenetic regulators.

Results: The presence of altered mRNA expression using a z-score threshold of 2 in NFKB1, RELA, EDN1, EDNRA, and EDNRB genes was associated with a higher Gleason score (P < 0.001) and a shorter time to biochemical recurrence (BCR) (P = 0.029). There was a significant direct correlation between NFKB1 and RELA (P < 0.001), NFKB1 and EDNRA (P < 0.001), NFKB1 and EDNRB (P < 0.001), EDNRA and EDNRB expression (P < 0.001). ASCL1 (q < 0.001), ONECUT2 (q < 0.001), DLL3 (q = 0.019), AURKA (q = 0.013), AURKB (q = 0.014), PLK1 (q < 0.001), and EZH2 (q < 0.001) were enriched in patients with tumors harboring alterations in endothelin axis and NF-kB subunit genes whereas REST was downregulated (q < 0.001).

Conclusions: This analysis suggests that altered mRNA expression of NF-kB and endothelin axis genes in early PC is not only a harbinger of a more aggressive clinical course but is also associated with aberrant gene expression of several transcription factors, transcriptional repressors, cell cycle and epigenetic regulators that are directly involved in NED, in line with their biological roles. This may have implications for closer follow-up and potential use of targeted therapeutic approaches postoperatively in the adjuvant setting to improve outcomes of these patients.

World J Oncol. 2021;12(6):232-239
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/wjon1423


Neuroendocrine differentiation; Prostate cancer; Radical prostatectomy; PSA recurrence; Endothelin; Nuclear factor kappa B; RNA sequencing; mRNA expression

Full Text: HTML PDF

Browse  Journals  


Journal of Clinical Medicine Research

Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Journal of Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics


World Journal of Oncology

Gastroenterology Research

Journal of Hematology


Journal of Medical Cases

Journal of Current Surgery

Clinical Infection and Immunity


Cardiology Research

World Journal of Nephrology and Urology

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Research


Journal of Neurology Research

International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics



World Journal of Oncology, bimonthly, ISSN 1920-4531 (print), 1920-454X (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
The content of this site is intended for health care professionals.
This is an open-access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted
non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International CC-BY-NC 4.0)

This journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals,
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

website: www.wjon.org   editorial contact: editor@wjon.org
Address: 9225 Leslie Street, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 3H6, Canada

© Elmer Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the published articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors and Elmer Press Inc. This website is provided for medical research and informational purposes only and does not constitute any medical advice or professional services. The information provided in this journal should not be used for diagnosis and treatment, those seeking medical advice should always consult with a licensed physician.