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Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Oct;8(10):2882-93. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0293.

Pharmacologic inhibition of Pim kinases alters prostate cancer cell growth and resensitizes chemoresistant cells to taxanes.

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Sumner M. Redstone Prostate Cancer Research Program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The serine/threonine family of Pim kinases function as oncogenes and have been implicated in prostate cancer progression, particularly in hormone-refractory prostate disease, as a result of their antiapoptotic function. In this study, we used a pharmacologic inhibitor targeting the Pim family members, SGI-1776, to determine whether modulation of Pim kinase activity could alter prostate cancer cell survival and modulate chemotherapy resistance. Extensive biochemical characterization of SGI-1776 confirmed its specificity for the three isoforms of the Pim family. Treatment of prostate cancer cells with SGI-1776 resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in phosphorylation of known Pim kinase substrates that are involved in cell cycle progression and apoptosis (p21(Cip1/WAF1) and Bad). Consequently, SGI-1776 compromised overall cell viability by inducing G(1) cell cycle arrest and triggering apoptosis. Overexpression of recombinant Pim-1 markedly increased sensitivity of SGI-1776-mediated prostate cancer cell apoptosis and p21(Cip1/WAF1) phosphorylation inhibition, reinforcing the specificity of SGI-1776. An additional cytotoxic effect was observed when SGI-1776 was combined with taxane-based chemotherapy agents. SGI-1776 was able to reduce cell viability in a multidrug resistance 1 protein-based taxane-refractory prostate cancer cell line. In addition, SGI-1776 treatment was able to resensitize chemoresistant cells to taxane-based therapies by inhibiting multidrug resistance 1 activity and inducing apoptosis. These findings support the idea that inhibiting Pim kinases, in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent, could play an important role in prostate cancer treatment by targeting the clinical problem of chemoresistance.

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