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Oncotarget. 2016 Aug 16;7(33):53751-53761. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10733.

Oral administration of withaferin A inhibits carcinogenesis of prostate in TRAMP model.

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Department of Urology, University of Louisville, KY, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Louisville, KY, USA.


We previously reported that withaferin A (WA), a natural compound, deters prostate cancer by inhibiting AKT while inducing apoptosis. In the current study, we examined its chemopreventive efficacy against carcinogenesis in the prostate using the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model. Two distinct sets of experiments were conducted. To determine whether WA delays tumor progression, it was given before cancer onset, at week 6, and until week 44. To determine its effect after the onset of prostate cancer, it was given from weeks 12 to 35. In both strategies, oral administration of WA effectively suppressed tumor burden when compared to vehicle-treated animals. No toxicity was seen in treated animals at gross pathological examination. Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry of tumor sections revealed that in TRAMP controls, AKT and pAKT were highly expressed while nuclear FOXO3a and Par-4 were downregulated. On the contrary, treated mice showed inhibition of AKT signaling and activation of FOX03a-Par-4-induced cell death. They also displayed inhibition of mesenchymal markers such as β-catenin, vimentin, and snail as well as upregulation of E-cadherin. Because expressions of the angiogenic markers factor VIII and retic were downregulated, an anti-angiogenic role of WA is suggested. Overall, our results suggest that WA could be a promising anti-cancer agent that effectively inhibits carcinogenesis of the prostate.


chemoprevention; dietary agents; prostate cancer

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