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PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22118. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022118. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Galiellalactone inhibits stem cell-like ALDH-positive prostate cancer cells.

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Division of Urological Cancers, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.


Galiellalactone is a potent and specific inhibitor of STAT3 signaling which has been shown to possess growth inhibitory effects on prostate cancer cells expressing active STAT3. In this study we aimed to investigate the effect of galiellalactone on prostate cancer stem cell-like cells. We explored the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) as a marker for cancer stem cell-like cells in different human prostate cancer cell lines and the effects of galiellalactone on ALDH expressing (ALDH+) prostate cancer cells. ALDH+ subpopulations were detected and isolated from the human prostate cancer cell lines DU145 and long-term IL-6 stimulated LNCaP cells using ALDEFLUOR® assay and flow cytometry. In contrast to ALDH- cells, ALDH+ prostate cancer cells showed cancer stem cell-like characteristics such as increased self-renewing and colony forming capacity and tumorigenicity. In addition, ALDH+ cells showed an increased expression of putative prostate cancer stem cell markers (CD44 and integrin α2β1). Furthermore, ALDH+ cells expressed phosphorylated STAT3. Galiellalactone treatment decreased the proportion of ALDH+ prostate cancer cells and induced apoptosis of ALDH+ cells. The gene expression of ALDH1A1 was downregulated in vivo in galiellalactone treated DU145 xenografts. These findings emphasize that targeting the STAT3 pathway in prostate cancer cells, including prostate cancer stem cell-like cells, is a promising therapeutic approach and that galiellalactone is an interesting compound for the development of future prostate cancer drugs.

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