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Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Apr;8(4):733-41. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0631.

AMP-activated protein kinase promotes human prostate cancer cell growth and survival.

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Department of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University Hospital, Lower Level, Bles Building, 3800 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of prostate cancer are poorly understood. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a serine-threonine kinase that is activated in response to the hypoxic conditions found in human prostate cancers. In response to energy depletion, AMPK activation promotes metabolic changes to maintain cell proliferation and survival. Here, we report prevalent activation of AMPK in human prostate cancers and provide evidence that inhibition or depletion of AMPK leads to decreased cell proliferation and increased cell death. AMPK was highly activated in 40% of human prostate cancer specimens examined. Endogenous AMPK was active in both the androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells and the androgen-independent CWR22Rv1 human prostate cancer cells. Depletion of AMPK catalytic subunits by small interfering RNA or inhibition of AMPK activity with a small-molecule AMPK inhibitor (compound C) suppresses human prostate cancer cell proliferation. Apoptotic cell death was induced in LNCaP and CWR22Rv1 cells at compound C concentrations that inhibited AMPK activity. The evidence provided here is the first report that the activated AMPK pathway is involved in the growth and survival of human prostate cancer and offers novel potential targets for chemoprevention of human prostate cancer.

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