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Br J Cancer. 2007 Feb 26;96(4):583-90. Epub 2007 Jan 30.

Phellinus linteus activates different pathways to induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


It is known that polysaccharides extracted from the Phellinus linteus (PL) mushroom possess antitumour activity. We previously have demonstrated that high doses of PL render murine or human lung cancer cells susceptible to apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms of PL-mediated apoptosis have not been fully explored. In this study, we demonstrate that LNCaP cells expressing the androgen receptor (AR) are highly susceptible to apoptosis in response to treatment with high doses of PL. In this process, caspase 8 and its downstream effectors (such as BID), as well as ER stress-related, apoptotic signalling, are activated. In contrast, a moderate amount of apoptosis occurs in PC3 cells (that lack AR) after the same treatment, which does not activate ER-mediated apoptotic signalling. We also show that, in the process of PL-induced apoptosis, caspase 2 is induced in LNCaP cells, but not in PC3 cells. However, LNCaP cells that express a mutated AR or LNCaP cells treated with a caspase 2 inhibitor blocked ER stress-induced apoptotic signals. The magnitudes of the induction of apoptosis in these cells are comparable with what occurred in the PC3 cells. The data demonstrate that high doses of PL activate the AR-dependent and independent apoptotic pathways. Our study also suggests that caspase 2 is a key target in the determination of the susceptibility of prostate cancer cells to PL-induced apoptosis.

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