G Proteins in Cancer: The Prostate Cancer Paradigm

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Science's STKE  20 Jan 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 216, pp. re2
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2162004re2

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Signal transduction research investigating mechanisms of androgen-independent prostate cancer cell proliferation has historically focused on the role of androgen and peptide growth factor receptors. More recent work has raised the idea that intracellular signaling mechanisms triggered by extracellular hormonal factors acting through heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can also mediate and sustain this pathologic process. Prostate cancer patients with advanced disease express elevated levels of GPCRs and GPCR ligands, suggesting that the GPCR system is activated in the cancerous gland and may contribute to tumor growth. Importantly, inhibition of G protein signaling attenuates prostate cancer cell growth in animal models. The nature of intracellular signaling pathways mediating mitogenic effects of GPCRs in prostate cancer is poorly defined, although the G protein-dependent activation of the Ras-to-mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway has emerged as a critical regulatory event. Activated GPCRs may also exert their mitogenic effects in the prostate by activating the androgen receptor.

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