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Mol Cancer Ther. 2005 Nov;4(11):1689-98.

A novel antisense oligonucleotide inhibiting several antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members induces apoptosis and enhances chemosensitivity in androgen-independent human prostate cancer PC3 cells.

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  • 1The Prostate Centre, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada.


Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL are associated with treatment resistance and progression in many cancers, including prostate cancer. The objective of this study was to determine whether a novel bispecific antisense oligonucleotide targeting both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL induces apoptosis and enhances chemosensitivity in androgen-independent PC3 prostate cancer cells. An antisense oligonucleotide with complete sequence identity to Bcl-2 and three-base mismatches to Bcl-xL selected from five antisense oligonucleotides targeting various regions with high homology between Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL was found to be the most potent inhibitor of both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL expression in PC3 cells. This selected Bcl-2/Bcl-xL bispecific antisense oligonucleotide reduced mRNA and protein levels in a dose-dependent manner, reducing Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels to 12% and 19%, respectively. Interestingly, Mcl-1 was down-regulated as well, although levels of Bax, Bad, or Bak were not altered after treatment with this bispecific antisense oligonucleotide. Indirect down-regulation of inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family, including XIAP, cIAP-1 and cIAP-2, via second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases was also observed after bispecific antisense oligonucleotide treatment. Executioner caspase-3, caspase-6, and caspase-7 were shown to be involved in apoptosis induced by bispecific antisense oligonucleotide. This Bcl-2/Bcl-xL bispecific antisense oligonucleotide also enhanced paclitaxel chemosensitivity in PC3 cells, reducing the IC50 of paclitaxel by >90%. These findings illustrate that combined suppression of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members using this antisense oligonucleotide could be an attractive strategy for inhibiting cancer progression through alteration of the apoptotic rheostat in androgen-independent prostate cancer.

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