J Cancer 2020; 11(9):2708-2715. doi:10.7150/jca.33575 This issue

Research Paper

Downregulation of PSCA promotes gastric cancer proliferation and is related to poor prognosis

Li-pu Xu1,2,3*, Hai-bo Qiu1,2,3*, Shu-qiang Yuan1,2,3*, Yong-ming Chen1,2,3, Zhi-wei Zhou1,2,3, Ying-bo Chen1,2,3*✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China
2. Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China
3. Department of Gastric Surgery, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China
*These authors contribute equally to this work.

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Citation:
Xu Lp, Qiu Hb, Yuan Sq, Chen Ym, Zhou Zw, Chen Yb. Downregulation of PSCA promotes gastric cancer proliferation and is related to poor prognosis. J Cancer 2020; 11(9):2708-2715. doi:10.7150/jca.33575. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p2708.htm

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Abstract

Background: Dysregulation of prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) has been implicated in human cancers. Studies have reported that PSCA expression is generally high in prostate cancer, which correlates with a worse survival. PSCA is also highly expressed in bladder, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. However, PSCA is expressed at low levels in gastric, gallbladder and oesophageal cancers. At present, the clinical significance, expression pattern and biological function of PSCA in gastric cancer (GC) are still unclear.

Methods: Previously, we used cDNA microarray as a screening tool to compare GC tissues with its matched normal gastric mucosa tissues (MNGT), and obtained the differentially expressed genes of the two tissue types. PSCA is one of the genes significantly down-regulated in GC tissues. In this study, we detected the expression of PSCA in GC tissues and MNGT by western-blot experiment and immunohistochemical staining (IHC). Then the relationship between the expression pattern of PSCA and the clinicopathological characteristics and survival in GC was analyzed. In order to further study the function of PSCA in GC, lentivirus was used to construct stable cell lines with knockdown and overexpression of PSCA gene. We used AGS and MKN45 cell lines for plasmid transfection. Colony formation assay, MTS and nude mice xenograft model were performed to investigate the effect of PSCA in GC.

Results: Western-blot and IHC assays demonstrated that the expression of PSCA in GC tissues was significantly lower than that in the MNGT. PSCA expression in GC tissues was high in 252 (57.5%) and low in 186 (42.5%) of 438 patients. PSCA expression for MNGT was high in 273 (62.3%) and low in 165 (37.7%) of 438 patients. PSCA expression was significantly associated with T classification (P=0.024), N classification (P=0.018) and TNM stage (P=0.019) using χ2 test. The relationship between PSCA expression level and patient survival was analysed using Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log-rank test. Low levels of PSCA expression were significantly associated with a poorer OS than high expression levels of PSCA (P=0.011). In the COX regression analysis of OS, all 9 variables in the univariate analysis were significantly correlated with OS (P<0.05), while the variables found to be independently correlated with OS in the multivariate analysis were PSCA expression (P=0.036), age (P<0.001), gender (P=0.007), and TNM stage (P<0.001), respectively. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that PSCA was an independent prognostic factor for OS in GC. In vitro MTS cell proliferation experiment and clonal formation experiment and in vivo nude mouse subcutaneous tumorigenesis experiment all proved that knockdown of PSCA gene can improve the proliferation ability of GC cells, while in vitro experiment proved that overexpression of PSCA can reduce the proliferation ability of GC cells.It was found that knockdown of PSCA gene can improve the proliferation ability of GC cells both in vitro and in vivo, while overexpression of PSCA can reduce the proliferation ability of GC cells in vitro.

Conclusion: Our study showed that the expression of PSCA gene was decreased in GC, which was related to more advanced pathological stages. And the expression level of PSCA in GC was an independent good prognostic factor. PSCA gene had the function of inhibiting GC proliferation.

Keywords: PSCA, gastric cancer, prognosis, survival, proliferation