Specific Gene, PLK1, Promotes the Spread of Prostate Cancer, Study Finds

Specific Gene, PLK1, Promotes the Spread of Prostate Cancer, Study Finds
Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine found that Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) gene overexpression promotes oncogenic transformation and the migration of prostate cancer cells. The findings point the way to potential new therapeutic avenues for prostate and other cancers. The study, “Polo-like kinase 1 induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and promotes epithelial cell motility by activating CRAF/ERK signaling,” published in eLife,was also presented in a poster session at the 2016 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting. Mammalian polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that plays key roles in the regulation of the cell cycle, mediating every stage of cell division. The PLK1 gene is overexpressed in several human tumors, and its expression levels are associated with increased cell proliferation and metastatic potential. Importantly, the gene is commonly overexpressed in prostate cancer (>50%), and PLK1 overexpression is linked to higher tumor grade. Recent evidence also suggests that the protein is involved in other cell processes, but any possible link between its role there and cancer development is not yet clear. Researchers, using human cell lines, investigated the role of PLK1 in the motility of prostate epithelial cells and prostate cancer cells. According to the results, PLK1 promotes the migration of prostate cells by encouraging a process where epithelial cells change into mesenchymal (skeletal) stem cells that can move throughout the body. This process, c
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