The type III transforming growth factor-β receptor as a novel tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer

Ryan S. Turley, Elizabeth C. Finger, Nadine Hempel, Tam How, Timothy A. Fields, Gerard C. Blobe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway has an important role in regulating normal prostate epithelium, inhibiting proliferation, differentiation, and both androgen deprivation-induced and androgen-independent apoptosis. During prostate cancer formation, most prostate cancer cells become resistant to these homeostatic effects of TGF-β. Although the loss of expression of either the type I (TβRI) or type II (TβRII) TGF-β receptor has been documented in ∼30% of prostate cancers, most prostate cancers become TGF-β resistant without mutation or deletion of TβRI, TβRII, or Smads2, 3, and 4, and thus, the mechanism of resistance remains to be defined. Here, we show that type III TGF-β receptor (TβRIII or betaglycan) expression is decreased or lost in the majority of human prostate cancers as compared with benign prostate tissue at both the mRNA and protein level. Loss of TβRIII expression correlates with advancing tumor stage and a higher probability of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) recurrence, suggesting a role in prostate cancer progression. The loss of TβRIII expression is mediated by the loss of heterozygosity at the TGFBR3 genomic locus and epigenetic regulation of the TβRIII promoter. Functionally, restoring TβRIII expression in prostate cancer cells potently decreases cell motility and cell invasion through Matrigel in vitro and prostate tumorigenicity in vivo. Taken together, these studies define the loss of TβRIII expression as a common event in human prostate cancer and suggest that this loss is important for prostate cancer progression through effects on cell motility, invasiveness, and tumorigenicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1098
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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