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Mol Biol Cell. 2004 Feb;15(2):506-19. Epub 2003 Nov 14.

Diverse effects of methylseleninic acid on the transcriptional program of human prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Methylseleninic acid (MSA) has been shown to have potent anticancer activity and is an excellent compound for studying the anticancer effects of selenium in vitro. To gain insights into the effects of MSA in prostate cancer, we characterized the global transcriptional response of LNCaP, an androgen-sensitive human prostate cancer cell line, to MSA by using high-density cDNA microarrays. We identified 951 genes whose expression shows striking dose- and time-dependent changes in response to 3-30 microM MSA over the time course of 48 h. Transcript levels of many cell cycle-regulated genes change in response to MSA, suggesting that MSA inhibits proliferation. Consistent with these gene expression changes, cell proliferation, monitored by carboxyfluoroscein succinimidyl ester staining, was decreased after MSA treatment, and an accumulation of cells at G0/G1 phase was detected by flow cytometry. Surprisingly, MSA also modulated expression of many androgen-regulated genes, suppressed androgen receptor (AR) expression at both mRNA and protein level, and decreased levels of prostate specific antigen secreted into the medium. Low concentrations of MSA also induced significant increases in transcript levels of phase 2 detoxification enzymes and induced NADPH dehydrogenase, quinone 1 enzymatic activity, a surrogate marker of global phase 2 enzyme activity. Our results suggest that MSA may protect against prostate cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation, by modulating the expression of AR and AR-regulated genes and by inducing carcinogen defenses.

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