A mechanistic insight into the anti-metastatic role of the prostate specific antigen

Francesco Pellegrino, Arianna Coghi, Giovanni Lavorgna, Walter Cazzaniga, Edoardo Guazzoni, Irene Locatelli, Isabella Villa, Simona Bolamperti, Nadia Finocchio, Massimo Alfano, Roberta Lucianò, Alberto Briganti, Francesco Montorsi, Andrea Salonia, Ilaria Cavarretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Since its discovery Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), also referred to as kallikrein-3 (KLK3), has been used as standard circulating biomarker for prostate cancer (PCa). However, its specificity remains not adequate and its mechanism of action still elusive. Therefore, deciphering PSA role throughout PCa-pathobiology would be relevant in improving both cancer diagnosis and outcome prediction. We investigated the possible role played by PSA on/in the tumor microenvironment and over the first steps of cancer invasion. Methods: Fresh PCa-specimens and cell lines were used for ex-vivo/in-vitro invasion assays and assessment of prostate tissue-PSA (tPSA), type 1 collagen (COL1A1) and ß1-integrin expression. Tissue Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Decipher® datasets were considered to estimate tPSA clinical relevance. Results: A more precise, inverse, correspondence between tPSA and clinical/pathological parameters was found than for circulating PSA. KLK3 combined with Gleason grade and pathologic stage, better predicted cancer-related mortality. Consistently, we demonstrated that PSA inhibits prostate extracellular-matrix (ECM) invasion by PCa cells. As for the mechanism of action, we provided novel information that PSA is able to cleave COL1A1, a main component of the ECM. Finally, ß1-integrin, a crucial COL1A1 transducing-receptor involved in tumor adhesion/invasion, resulted to be downregulated in PCa specimens with higher levels of tPSA. Conclusions: By interfering with type 1 collagen and its downstream targets, PSA may hamper adhesion and path of the cancer cells through ECM and their migration ability, thus explaining the inverse correlation highlighted between prostate tPSA levels and clinically significant disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101211
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Collagen I
  • Extracellular matrix
  • KLK3
  • Metastasis
  • Prostate cancer
  • PSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'A mechanistic insight into the anti-metastatic role of the prostate specific antigen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this