The Calcium-Sensing Receptor is A Marker and Potential Driver of Neuroendocrine Differentiation in Prostate Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Apr 2;12(4):860. doi: 10.3390/cancers12040860.


The mechanisms underlying neuroendocrine (NE) differentiation in prostate cancer (PCa) remain mostly uncharacterized. Since a deregulated calcium homeostasis has been reported in neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), we explored herein the link between NE differentiation and the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR). CaSR expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry-together with NE markers-on tissue microarrays containing samples of normal prostate, localized PCa, metastatic castration resistant PCa (MCRPC) and NEPC. In prostate tissues, we observed a strong association between CaSR and chromogranin expression. Both markers were strongly expressed in all cases of NEPC and co-expression was confirmed by double immunostaining. In MCRPC, the expression of CaSR was significantly associated with shorter overall survival. The involvement of CaSR in NE differentiation was evaluated in PCa cell lines. Inhibition of CaSR led to decrease the expression of neuronal (NSE, βtubulinIII) and NE (chromogranin, synaptophysin) markers in the NE PCa cell line NCI-H660. A decrease of neuronal and NE markers was also observed in siCaSR-transfected PC3 and 22RV1 cells, respectively, whereas CaSR activation increased both NSE and synaptophysin expression in PC3 cells. These results strongly suggest that CaSR is a marker and a driver of NE differentiation in PCa and emphasize the potential of CaSR directed therapy for NEPC patients.

Keywords: calcium; calcium-sensing receptor; hormone therapy; neuroendocrine differentiation; prostate cancer.