Promotion of angiogenesis by ps20 in the differential reactive stroma prostate cancer xenograft model

Cancer Res. 2003 Sep 15;63(18):5859-65.


Human prostate cancer is associated with a reactive stroma typified by an increase in the proportion of myofibroblast type cells and elevated synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins. Increased vascular density has been identified in the reactive stroma compartment adjacent to both precancerous and cancerous prostate lesions. The differential reactive stroma (DRS) prostate cancer xenograft model has been developed to investigate the role of reactive stroma in prostate cancer progression. Using this model, we have shown that human prostate stromal cells promote angiogenesis and growth of LNCaP human prostate carcinoma cell tumors, and that these increases are transforming growth factor (TGF) beta1 regulated. Our laboratory isolated and identified previously the ps20 protein (WFDC1 gene) as a prostate stromal cell secreted protein. The ps20 protein contains a whey acidic protein-type four-disulfide core domain, which is a functional motif characterized by serine protease inhibition activity in a number of whey acidic protein domain-containing proteins. In the present study, we show ps20 expression by normal human prostate stromal smooth muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells indicating a possible role of ps20 in vessel wall biology. Using in vitro assays, we show that ps20 promotes endothelial cell motility but has no effect on endothelial cell proliferation. To address the potential effects of ps20 in a tumor microenvironment, we used the DRS model to evaluate both angiogenesis and tumorigenesis of tumors generated under either ps20 or control conditions. DRS tumors generated with LNCaP and human prostate stromal cells in the presence of ps20 showed a 67% increase in microvessel density compared with control tumors. Elevated DRS tumor growth in the ps20-treated tumors was reflected by a 29% increase in wet weight and a 58% increase in volume compared with controls. Similar tumors composed of GeneSwitch-3T3 cells engineered to express ps20-V5-His under mifepristone regulation showed a 129% increase in microvessel density after induction of ps20-V5-His. GeneSwitch-3T3 cells expressing ps20-V5-His were localized to vessel walls in a mural cell (pericyte) position indicating a possible direct stabilizing interaction with endothelial cells. In addition, we show that ps20 mRNA synthesis is induced by TGF-beta1, a known regulator of endothelial cell-pericyte interactions and of stromal cell-induced angiogenesis in DRS tumors. These findings suggest that ps20 may be a TGF-beta1-induced regulator of angiogenesis that functions by either promoting endothelial cell migration or by contributing to pericyte stabilization of newly formed vascular structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cricetinae
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • TGFB1 protein, human
  • Tgfb1 protein, mouse
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • WFDC1 protein, human
  • Wfdc1 protein, mouse