KLK4 and prostate cancer
For more than 15 years I have been doing research about Kallikrein-related peptidases (KLK) within the field of dermatology. In 2012, I was recruited by Pernilla Wikström, Department of Medical Biosciences, UmU, to be responsible for cell culture, functional studies and protein characterization in her research group. Thanks to this, I have now had the opportunity to broaden my research area regarding KLK to include cancer.
Prostate cancer (PC) is a multifaceted disease with almost 11 000 new cases each year in Sweden. A big problem is to predict if a tumor will develop into an aggressive form or not, as the treatments available today often result in problems with erection and urine leakage which have impact on the daily life of the patient. The mechanisms behind PC metastasis and castration resistant tumor growth are largely unknown and identification of molecular pathways involved has the potential to improve PC prognosis.
Kallikrein related peptidases (KLKs) are a family consisting of 15 different serine proteases where KLK3 is also named PSA and well established as a biomarker for PC. KLK4 has previously been shown to be important for tooth enamel formation. PSA/KLK3 is expressed at very high levels in the prostate, but we have shown that KLK4 is equally highly expressed. In my project, I try to understand the function of KLK4 and to show if it is involved in the development and/or progression of prostate cancer with the ultimate goal to improve diagnostics and treatment of prostate cancer.