Prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers diagnosed in men and one of the leading causes of cancer death in men. Tumor development and progression have been shown to be highly influenced not simply by the genetic makeup of a cell, but by its surrounding stroma, particularly fibroblasts. It has been demonstrated that prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs, which are located marginal to the prostate tumor), differ from prostate normal-associated fibroblast (NAFs, which are located distal to the prostate tumor), on their contribution to tumor progression. However, human prostate cancer in-vitro model systems have focused largely on prostate cancer epithelial cells exclusively. A need exists for a more physiologically relevant human cell model system to study prostate cancer progression within the context of its tumor microenvironment. In this study, we utilized prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), prostate normal-associated fibroblasts (NAFs) and normal prostate epithelial (PrE) cells; all three lines were immortalized by hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase) alone and they were continuously passaged for at least 15 passages without any indications of a decrease in growth rate. All cell lines express appropriate specific cell lineage markers for either fibroblasts or epithelial cells. Fibroblasts expressed TE7 and alpha smooth muscle actin (a-SMA), while prostate epithelial cells expressed cytokeratin 5, low levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) and high levels of p63 throughout their continuous passage; all characteristics in accord with their primary cell counterparts. Next, cell proliferation was measured for various prostate-derived epithelial cells under the influence of CAFs and NAFs cells. Normal prostate epithelial cell proliferation was inhibited and produced a visible morphological change in the cells in the presence of CAFs or CAF-conditioned medium. Meanwhile, the effects of stromal cells on prostate cancer cells was cell line dependent, demonstrating both promotion and inhibition of growth of selected cancer cells. Surprisingly, both CAFs and NAFs promoted cancer cell growth, but CAFs promoted a greater increase in cell proliferation than NAFs in some cancer cell lines. This study demonstrates that these three hTERT immortalized cells from human prostate are a valuable model system for the study of prostate cancer cell progression and tumor micro environment studies.

Citation Format: Luis G. Rodriguez, Russell E. McDaniel, Xiangshan Zhao, Chaozhong Zou. An authenticated in vitro model for prostate microenvironment studies utilizing prostate epithelial cells and stromal-derived cells [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 2115.