NKAIN2 functions as a novel tumor suppressor in prostate cancer.
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Recurrent chromosome breakpoints at 6q22.31, leading to truncation and potential loss-of-function of the NKAIN2 gene, in Chinese prostate cancer patients were previously identified. In this study we investigated genomic, methylation and expression changes of NKAIN2 in a large number of prostate cancer samples and determined its functional role in prostate cancer cells. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis confirmed that NKAIN2 truncation is specific to Chinese while deletion of the gene is frequent in both Chinese and UK prostate cancers. Significantly reduced expression of NKAIN2 was also detected at both RNA and protein levels. Somatic mutations of NKAIN2 in prostate cancer samples exist but at very low frequency, suggesting that it is a putative tumor suppressor gene (TSG) with haploid insufficiency. Our functional studies showed that overexpression of NKAIN2 in prostate cancer cells inhibits cellular growth by promoting cell apoptosis, and decreasing cell migration and invasion. Conversely, knockdown of NKAIN2 promotes prostate cancer cell growth by inhibiting cell apoptosis, and increasing cell migration and invasion. These data imply that NKAIN2 is a novel TSG whose activity is commonly reduced in prostate cancer. It may restrain the disease development and progression by inducing apoptosis and suppressing cancer cell growth, migration and invasion. This study provides new insights into prostate carcinogenesis and opportunities for development of novel therapies for prostate cancer.