Cancer invasion and metastasis are driven by epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), yet the exact mechanisms that account for EMT in clinical prostate cancer are not fully understood. Expression of N-cadherin is considered a hallmark of EMT in clinical prostate cancer. In this study, we determined the molecular mechanisms associated with N-cadherin expression in patients with prostate cancer. We performed laser capture microdissection of matched N-cadherin–positive and -negative prostate cancer areas from patient samples (n ¼ 8), followed by RNA sequencing. N-cadherin expression was significantly associated with an immune-regulatory signature including profound upregulation of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1; log2-fold change ¼ 5.1; P ¼ 2.98E-04). Fluorescent immunostainings of patient samples confirmed expression of IDO1 protein and also its metabolite kynurenine in primarily N-cadherin–positive areas. N-cadherin–positive areas also exhibited a local decrease of intraepithelial cytotoxic (CD8þ) T cells and an increase of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (CD4þ/FOXP3þ). In conclusion, EMT in clinical prostate cancer is accompanied by upregulated expression of IDO1 and an increased number of regulatory T cells. These data indicate that EMT, which is an important step in tumor progression, can be protected from effective immune control in patients with prostate cancer. Significance: These findings demonstrate EMT is linked to an immunosuppressive environment in clinical prostate cancer, suggesting that patients with prostate cancer can potentially benefit from combinatorial drug therapy.,
Cancer Research
Department of Medical Oncology

Kolijn, K., Verhoef, E., Smid, M., Böttcher, R., Jenster, G., Debets, R., & Leenders, G. (2018). Epithelial–mesenchymal transition in human prostate cancer demonstrates enhanced immune evasion marked by IDO1 expression. Cancer Research, 78(16), 4671–4679. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-3752