Semaphorin 4F as a critical regulator of neuroepithelial interactions and a biomarker of aggressive prostate cancer

Yi Ding, Dandan He, Diego Florentin, Anna Frolov, Sue Hilsenbeck, Michael Ittmann, Dov Kadmon, Brian J. Miles, David Rowley, Gustavo Ayala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Semaphorin 4F (S4F) has roles in embryologic axon guidance and is expressed in adults. S4F is involved in cancer-induced neurogenesis. Methods: Prostate cells were transfected with S4F retrovirus. Cells and controls were used for a bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) incorporation assay (proliferation) and in vitro scratch and Matrigel Transwell chamber invasion assay (migration). Monoclonal antibodies were developed using baculovirusexpressed recombinant GST-S4F and used to immunostain tissue microarrays. Slides were imaged using deconvolution and analyzed using tissue segmentation. Data were correlated with clinicopathologic parameters, other biomarkers and survival analysis conducted. Heterogeneity of S4F expression was analyzed with unsupervised clustering algorithms. Results: Proliferation rates measured by BrdUrd incorporation were higher in all S4F-transfected cells. S4F overexpression was associated with increased motility of the cancer cells. S4F expression was overexpressed in high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia/prostate cancer than normal epithelium. S4F expression correlated with seminal vesicle invasion. Patients with high values of S4F in prostate cancer cytoplasm are at significantly higher risk of biochemical recurrence, by univariate and multivariate analyses. S4F cytoplasmic expression in prostate cancer cells also correlates with nerve density in prostate cancer and perineural invasion diameter. Correlations were identified with NF-kB and inversely with apoptosis in perineural invasion. Conclusion: These data show that S4F is significantly involved in human prostate cancer progression. S4F is a key regulator of the interactions between nerves in the tumor microenvironment and cancer cells. Because of the importance of cancer nerve interaction in the biology of cancer and its clinical implication, S4F can be considered a major therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6101-6111
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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