Because each change in the evolution of a cancer is predicated on the effects of previous events, a full understanding of selective changes and their effect on tumor progression can only be understood in the context of appropriate initiating events. Here, we define the effect of pRb function inactivation in prostate epithelium on both the initiation of prostate cancer and the establishment of selective pressures that lead to diminished Pten function and tumor evolution. Using genetically engineered mice, we show that inactivation of the pRb family proteins (Rb/p107/p130) induces epithelial proliferation and apoptosis and is sufficient to produce prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) lesions. Over time, adenocarcinomas develop in all mice with no evidence of neuroendocrine tumors. Apoptosis is dependent on Pten function and not p53, unlike other epithelial cell types tested previously. Consequently, Pten hemizygosity reduces apoptosis by 50%, accelerating progression to adenocarcinomas with heterogeneous composition. Heterogeneity is associated with concurrent Pten haploinsufficiency and focal selective progression to complete Pten loss, which yields distinct tumor properties. Given that this analysis models the apparent timing of highly penetrant events in human prostate cancer, observed effects may recapitulate the natural evolution of prostate cancer development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research