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Mol Cancer Res. 2006 Feb;4(2):113-23.

Mechanisms of cell death induced by histone deacetylase inhibitors in androgen receptor-positive prostate cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACI) are potential therapeutic agents that inhibit tumor cell growth and survival. Although there are several publications regarding the effects of HDACIs on prostate cancer cell growth, their mechanism(s) of action remains undefined. We treated several human prostate cancer cell lines with the HDACI trichostatin A and found that trichostatin A induced cell death in androgen receptor (AR)-positive cell lines to higher extent compared with AR-negative cell lines. We then discovered that trichostatin A and other HDACIs suppressed AR gene expression in prostate cancer cell lines as well as in AR-positive breast carcinoma cells and in mouse prostate. Trichostatin A also induced caspase activation, but trichostatin A-induced AR suppression and cell death were caspase independent. In addition, we found that doxorubicin inhibited AR expression, and p21 protein completely disappeared after simultaneous treatment with trichostatin A and doxorubicin. This effect may be attributed to the induction of protease activity under simultaneous treatment with these two agents. Further, simultaneous treatment with trichostatin A and doxorubicin increased cell death in AR-positive cells even after culturing in steroid-free conditions. The protease/proteasome inhibitor MG132 protected AR and p21 from the effects of trichostatin A and doxorubicin and inhibited trichostatin A-induced cell death in AR-positive prostate cells. Taken together, our data suggest that the main mechanism of trichostatin A-induced cell death in AR-positive prostate cancer is inhibition of AR gene expression. The synergistic effect of simultaneous treatment with trichostatin A and doxorubicin is mediated via inhibition of AR expression, induction of protease activity, increased expression of p53, and proteolysis of p21.

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