The expression of caveola-forming proteins is dysregulated in prostate cancer. Caveolae are flask-shaped invaginations of the plasma membrane that have roles in membrane trafficking and cell signalling. Members of two families of proteins - caveolins and cavins - are known to be required for the formation and functions of caveolae. Caveolin-1, the major structural protein of caveolae, is overexpresssed in prostate cancer and has been demonstrated to be involved in prostate cancer angiogenesis, growth and metastasis. Polymerase I and transcript release factor (PTRF) is the only cavin family member necessary for caveola formation. When exogenously expressed in prostate cancer cells, PTRF reduces aggressive potential, probably via both caveola-mediated and caveola-independent mechanisms. In addition, stromal PTRF expression decreases with progression of the disease. Evaluation of caveolin-1 antibodies in the clinical setting is underway and it is hoped that future studies will reveal the mechanisms of PTRF action, allowing its targeting for therapeutic purposes.
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