Published in

MDPI, Cancers, 5(12), p. 1188, 2020

DOI: 10.3390/cancers12051188



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PIM-1 Is Overexpressed at a High Frequency in Circulating Tumor Cells from Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Patients

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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PIM-1 is an oncogene involved in cell cycle progression, cell growth, cell survival and therapy resistance, activated in many types of cancer, and is now considered as a very promising target for cancer therapy. We report for the first time that PIM-1 is overexpressed in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients (mCRPC). We first developed and validated a highly sensitive RT-qPCR assay for quantification of PIM-1 transcripts. We further applied this assay to study PIM-1 expression in EpCAM(+) CTC fraction isolated from 64 peripheral blood samples of 50 mCRPC patients. CTC enumeration in all samples was performed using the FDA-cleared CellSearch® system. PIM-1 overexpression was detected in 24/64 (37.5%) cases, while in 20/24 (83.3%) cases that were positive for PIM-1 expression, at least one CTC/7.5 mL PB was detected in the CellSearch®. Our data indicate that PIM-1 overexpression is observed at high frequency in CTCs from mCRPC patients and this finding, in combination with androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) expression in CTCs, suggest its potential role as a very promising target for cancer therapy. We strongly believe that PIM-1 overexpression in EpCAM(+) CTC fraction merits to be further evaluated and validated as a non-invasive circulating tumor biomarker in a large and well-defined patient cohort with mCRPC.