Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Oncol. 2005 Apr;26(4):863-71.

Activation of p53/p21Waf1/Cip1 pathway by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine inhibits cell proliferation, induces pro-apoptotic genes and mitogen-activated protein kinases in human prostate cancer cells.

Author information

Program of Cancer Biology and Department of Biomedical & Therapeutic Sciences, University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria, Peoria, IL 61605, USA.


The tumor suppressor gene p53 plays an essential role in cell proliferation and apoptosis. Due to its relevance to cancer therapy, most studies have focused on the cellular consequences of p53 activation in relation to cytotoxic drugs. 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR) is widely used as an anti-cancer drug for the treatment of leukemia and solid tumors. However, the mechanism by which 5-aza-CdR exerts its anti-neoplastic activity remains unclear. Here, we address the role of p53 in regulating cellular responses to 5-aza-CdR treatment in human prostate cancer cells. We found that 5-aza-CdR induces p53 and p21Waf1/Cip1 expression associated with inhibition of cell proliferation in LNCaP cells (p53 wild-type), but not in DU145 cells (p53 mutant). By using pifithrin-alpha, a chemical inhibitor of p53, we confirmed that the increase in p21Waf1/Cip1 expression and inhibition of cell proliferation in LNCaP cells by 5-aza-CdR is p53-dependent. Also, the activation of p53 and p21Waf1/Cip1 pathway by 5-aza-CdR modified multiple gene expressions including apoptotic target genes and MAP kinases in LNCaP cells. 5-aza-CdR-induced apoptosis in LNCaP cells is assessed by DNA fragmentation analysis. Furthermore, knockdown of p53 by pU6-p53 siRNA vector suggests the involvement of MAP kinases in the process of 5-aza-CdR-mediated activation of p53 pathway to inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. Finally, the comet or SCGE assay and methylation-sensitive restriction analysis demonstrated that 5-aza-CdR induced p53 and p21Waf1/Cip1 expression as a consequence of DNA damage and independent of DNA demethylation. Our findings suggest that 5-aza-CdR induces anti-neoplastic activity primarily through the activation of p53 pathway in response to DNA damage and subsequently leads to inhibition of cell proliferation as well as induction of apoptosis. Therefore, our data indicate that p53 status in tumor cells may be critical for the clinical efficacy and toxicity of 5-aza-CdR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Spandidos Publications
Loading ...
Support Center