Research Papers:

Phospholipase PLA2G7, associated with aggressive prostate cancer, promotes prostate cancer cell migration and invasion and is inhibited by statins

Paula Vainio, Laura Lehtinen, Tuomas Mirtti, Mika Hilvo, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso, Johannes Virtanen, Anna Sankila, Stig Nordling, Johan Lundin, Antti Rannikko, Matej Orešič, Olli Kallioniemi and Kristiina Iljin _

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Oncotarget. 2011; 2:1176-1190. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.397

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Paula Vainio1, Laura Lehtinen1, Tuomas Mirtti2,3,4, Mika Hilvo5, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso5, Johannes Virtanen1, Anna Sankila4, Stig Nordling4, Johan Lundin3, Antti Rannikko6, Matej Orešič5, Olli Kallioniemi1,3 and Kristiina Iljin1

1 Medical Biotechnology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku, Finland

2 Haartman Institute, Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Finland

3 Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Finland

4 HUSLAB, Department of Pathology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland

5 Bio and Process Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland

6 Department of Urology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland

Received: December 20, 2011; Accepted: December 22, 2011; Published: December 22, 2011;

Keywords: Prostate cancer, PLA2G7, drug target, biomarker, statins


Kristiina Iljin, email:


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in men in developed countries. Due to the heterogeneous nature of the disease, design of novel personalized treatments is required to achieve efficient therapeutic responses. We have recently identified phospholipase 2 group VII (PLA2G7) as a potential drug target especially in ERG oncogene positive prostate cancers. Here, the expression profile of PLA2G7 was studied in 1137 prostate cancer and 409 adjacent non-malignant prostate tissues using immunohistochemistry to validate its biomarker potential and putative association with disease progression. In order to reveal the molecular alterations induced by PLA2G7 impairment, lipidomic and gene expression profiling was performed in response to PLA2G7 silencing in cultured prostate cancer cells. Moreover, the antineoplastic effect of statins combined with PLA2G7 impairment was studied in prostate cancer cells to evaluate the potential of repositioning of in vivo compatible drugs developed for other indications towards anti-cancer purposes. The results indicated that PLA2G7 is a cancer-selective biomarker in 50 % of prostate cancers and associates with aggressive disease. The alterations induced by PLA2G7 silencing highlighted the potential of PLA2G7 inhibition as an anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-migratorial therapeutic approach in prostate cancer. Moreover, the anti-proliferative effect of PLA2G7 silencing was potentiated by lipid-lowering statins in prostate cancer cells. Taken together, our results support the potential of PLA2G7 as a biomarker and a drug target in prostate cancer and present a rationale for combining PLA2G7 inhibition with the use of statins in prostate cancer management.

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