Reverse phase protein microarrays which capture disease progression show activation of pro-survival pathways at the cancer invasion front

Oncogene. 2001 Apr 12;20(16):1981-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204265.


Protein arrays are described for screening of molecular markers and pathway targets in patient matched human tissue during disease progression. In contrast to previous protein arrays that immobilize the probe, our reverse phase protein array immobilizes the whole repertoire of patient proteins that represent the state of individual tissue cell populations undergoing disease transitions. A high degree of sensitivity, precision and linearity was achieved, making it possible to quantify the phosphorylated status of signal proteins in human tissue cell subpopulations. Using this novel protein microarray we have longitudinally analysed the state of pro-survival checkpoint proteins at the microscopic transition stage from patient matched histologically normal prostate epithelium to prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and then to invasive prostate cancer. Cancer progression was associated with increased phosphorylation of Akt (P<0.04), suppression of apoptosis pathways (P<0.03), as well as decreased phosphorylation of ERK (P<0.01). At the transition from histologically normal epithelium to PIN we observed a statistically significant surge in phosphorylated Akt (P<0.03) and a concomitant suppression of downstream apoptosis pathways which proceeds the transition into invasive carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Dissection
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Prostate / cytology*
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / metabolism
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases