Androgen ablation is standard therapy for advanced prostate carcinoma. It can be administered either as a monotherapy or as a combined androgen blockade. In the present study we have investigated molecular mechanisms which are responsible for the development of resistance to therapy in advanced prostate cancer. For this purpose, we have cultured LNCaP cells in steroid-depleted medium for 1 year. The newly generated subline LNCaP-abl was characterized. In early passages (<75) LNCaP-abl cells showed a biphasic hypersensitive response to androgenic stimulation. Passages later than 75 are inhibited by androgen. Proliferation of LNCaP-abl cells was stimulated by the pure nonsteroidal antiandrogen bicalutamide (Casodex). To improve our understanding of changes which occur during intermittent androgen ablation, we have generated the sublines LNCaP-R (reversal; cultured with fetal calf serum) and LNCaP-RA (reversal and androgen; cultured with fetal calf serum and androgen) from LNCaP-abl cells. In both cell lines an increase of the basal proliferation rate was observed. Androgen receptor expression in LNCaP-abl cells was 4-fold higher than that in parental LNCaP cells (4.7 vs. 1.2 fmol/microg protein). Androgen receptor content in LNCaP-R cells was 1.8 fmol/microg protein and in LNCaP-RA cells 1.0 fmol/microg protein. The basal androgen receptor activity was 30-fold higher in LNCaP-abl cells compared to that in parental LNCaP cells. This basal activity was reduced in LNCaP-RA cells. Both androgen and the nonsteroidal androgen receptor antagonist hydroxyflutamide induced a 2- to 4-fold higher activation of androgen receptor in LNCaP-abl than in LNCaP cells. There was a switch from an antagonist to an agonist of the nonsteroidal antiandrogen bicalutamide (Casodex) in LNCaP-abl cells. Antagonistic properties of this androgen receptor blocker were again observed in both sublines (LNCaP-R and LNCaP-RA) derived from LNCaP-abl cells. In concordance with proliferation data in vitro, growth of LNCaP-abl cells in nude mice was stimulated by bicalutamide. In contrast, supplementation of androgen led to inhibition of proliferation of these cells. The present study provides new information that is useful for a better understanding of therapy-refractory prostate cancer. It is also important for the development of new therapy strategies for advanced carcinoma of the prostate.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel