S100A4, a calcium-binding protein, is known for its role in the metastatic spread of tumor cells, a late event of cancer disease. This is the first report showing that S100A4 is not merely a metastatic protein but also an oncoprotein that plays a critical role in the development of tumors. We earlier showed that S100A4 expression progressively increases in prostatic tissues with the advancement of prostate cancer (CaP) in TRAMP, an autochthonous mouse model. To study the functional significance of S100A4 in CaP, we generated a heterozygously deleted S100A4 (TRAMP/S100A4+/-) genotype by crossing TRAMP with S100A4-/- mice. TRAMP/S100A4+/- did not show a lethal phenotype, and transgenes were functional. As compared to age-matched TRAMP littermates, TRAMP/S100A4+/- mice exhibited 1) an increased tumor latency period (P < 0.001), 2) a 0% incidence of metastasis, and 3) reduced prostatic weights (P < 0.001). We generated S100A4-positive clones from S100A4-negative CaP cells and tested their potential. S100A4-positive tumors grew at a faster rate than S100A4-negative tumors in vitro and in a xenograft mouse model. The S100A4 protein exhibited growth factor-like properties in multimode (intracellular and extracellular) forms. We observed that 1) the growth-promoting effect of S100A4 is due to its activation of NFκB, 2) S100A4-deficient tumors exhibit reduced NFκB activity, 3) S100A4 regulates NFκB through the RAGE receptor, and 4) S100A4 and RAGE co-localize in prostatic tissues of mice. Keeping in view its growth-promoting role, we suggest that S100A4 qualifies as an excellent candidate to be exploited for therapeutic agents to treat CaP in humans.
- prostate cancer