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Prostate. 2019 May;79(6):667-677. doi: 10.1002/pros.23774. Epub 2019 Jan 28.

Effect of Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) inhibitors on androgen-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
USC-Taiwan Center for Translational Research, Los Angeles, California.
Program for Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery, College of Pharmacy, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) is best known for its role in neuro-transmitter regulation. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are used to treat atypical depression. MAOA is highly expressed in high grade prostate cancer and modulates tumorigenesis and progression in prostate cancer. Here, we investigated the potential role of MAOA inhibitors (MAOAIs) in relation to the androgen receptor (AR) pathway and resistance to antiandrogen treatment in prostate cancer.


We examined MAOA expression and the effect of MAOI treatment in relation to AR-targeted treatments using the LNCaP, C4-2B, and 22Rv1 human prostate cancer cell lines. MAOA, AR-full length (AR-FL), AR splice variant 7 (AR-V7), and PSA expression was evaluated in the presence of MAOAIs (clorgyline, phenelzine), androgenic ligand (R1881), and antiandrogen (enzalutamide) treatments. An enzalutamide resistance cell line was generated to test the effect of MAOAI treatment in this model.


We observed that MAOAIs, particularly clorgyline and phenelzine, were effective at decreasing MAOA activity in human prostate cancer cells. MAOAIs significantly decreased growth of LNCaP, C4-2B, and 22Rv1 cells and produced additive growth inhibitory effects when combined with enzalutamide. Clorgyline decreased expression of AR-FL and AR-V7 in 22Rv1 cells and was effective at decreasing growth of an enzalutamide-resistant C4-2B cell line with increased AR-V7 expression.


MAOAIs decrease growth and proliferation of androgen-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer cells. Clorgyline, in particular, decreases expression of AR-FL and AR-V7 expression and decreases growth of an enzalutamide-resistant cell line. These findings provide preclinical validation of MAOA inhibitors either alone or in combination with antiandrogens for therapeutic intent in patients with advanced forms of prostate cancer.


androgen receptor splice variant; clorgyline; enzalutamide; phenelzine; prostate cancer


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