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Biochem Pharmacol. 2009 Sep 1;78(5):469-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2009.05.008. Epub 2009 May 9.

3,3'-Diindolylmethane induces a G(1) arrest in human prostate cancer cells irrespective of androgen receptor and p53 status.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, 119 Morgan Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a potential chemopreventive phytochemical derived from Brassica vegetables. In this study we characterized the effect of DIM on cell cycle regulation in both androgen-dependent LNCaP and androgen receptor negative p53 mutant DU145 human prostate cancer cells. DIM had an anti-proliferative effect on both LNCaP and DU145 cells, as it significantly inhibited [3H]-thymidine incorporation. FACS analysis revealed a DIM-mediated G(1) cell cycle arrest. DIM strongly inhibited the expression of cdk2 and cdk4 protein and increased the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p27(Kip1) protein in LNCaP and DU145 cells. Promoter deletion studies with p27(Kip1) reporter gene constructs showed that this DIM-mediated increase in p27(Kip1) was dependent on the Sp1 transcription factor. Moreover, using a dominant negative inhibitor of p38 MAPK, we showed that the induction of p27(Kip1) and subsequent G(1) arrest by DIM involve activation of the p38 MAPK pathway in the DU145 cells. Taken together, our results indicate that DIM is able to stop the cell cycle progression of human prostate cancer cells regardless of their androgen-dependence and p53 status, by differentially modulating cell cycle regulatory pathways. The Sp1 and p38 MAPK pathways mediate the DIM cell cycle regulatory effect in DU145 cells.

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