The retrotransposon-derived paternally expressed gene 10 (PEG10) protein is ordinarily expressed at high levels in the placenta. Recently, it was discovered that PEG10 isoforms promote the progression of prostate cancer to a highly lethal androgen receptor (AR)-negative phenotype. The presence of PEG10 in other subtypes of prostate cancer has not been explored and a utility for PEG10 overexpression has not been developed. Here, we found that in addition to AR-null disease, PEG10 was also expressed in prostate cancer with constitutively active AR-splice variants. A molecular genetic imaging strategy for noninvasive imaging of AR-splice variant prostate cancer was developed by utilizing the cancer specificity of the PEG10 promoter to drive the expression of reporter genes. Plasmid insertion of a PEG10 promoter sequence optimized for enhanced output upstream of a reporter gene allowed detection of prostate cancer by near-infrared and positron emission tomography imaging after systemic administration of the plasmid in vivo. PEG10 expressing subcutaneous xenograft and intratibial tumor models were imaged by both modalities using this molecular genetic imaging strategy. This study demonstrates a preclinical proof-of-concept that the PEG10 promoter is a powerful and specific tool that can be utilized for noninvasive detection of aggressive prostate cancer subtypes. SIGNIFICANCE: PEG10 is expressed by prostate cancer with constitutively active AR-splice variants that can be exploited for noninvasive molecular imaging of this aggressive prostate cancer subytpe.
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© 2019 American Association for Cancer Research.
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