Involvement of the glutamine RF-amide peptide and its cognate receptor GPR103 in prostate cancer

Mohamed Ab Kawan, Ioannis Kyrou, Manjunath Ramanjaneya, Kevin Williams, Jeyarooban Jeyaneethi, Harpal S. Randeva*, Emmanouil Karteris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glutamine RF-amide peptide (QRFP) belongs to the RFamide neuropeptide family, which is involved in a wide spectrum of biological activities, ranging from food intake and cardiovascular functioning to analgesia, aldosterone secretion, locomotor activity and reproduction. Recently, QRFP has been demonstrated to exert its effects by activating the G protein-coupled receptor GPR103. QRFP is expressed in the brain and peripherally in the adipose tissue, bladder, colon, testis, parathyroid and thyroid gland, as well as in the prostate gland. Following lung cancer, prostate cancer constitutes the second most frequently diagnosed cancer among men, whilst obesity appears to be a contributing factor for aggressive prostate cancer. In the present study, we sought to investigate the role of QRFP in prostate cancer, using two androgen-independent human prostate cancer cell lines (PC3 and DU145) as in vitro experimental models and clinical human prostate cancer samples. The expression of both QRFP and GPR103 at the gene and protein level was higher in human prostate cancer tissue samples compared to control and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP) samples. Furthermore, in both prostate cancer cell lines used in the present study, QRFP treatment induced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, JNK and Akt. In addition, QRFP increased cell migration and invasion in these in vitro models, with the increased expression of MMP2. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the pleiotropic adipokine, leptin, increased the expression of QRFP and GPR103 in PC3 prostate cancer cells via a PI3K- and MAPK-dependent mechanism, indicating a novel potential link between adiposity and prostate cancer. Our findings expand the existing evidence and provide novel insight into the implication of QRFP in prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1150
Number of pages11
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number2
Early online date27 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

© Kawan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License [CC BY 4.0].


  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • G protein-coupled receptor 103
  • Glutamine RF-amide peptide
  • Prostate cancer


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