Background: Expression of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) is increased in a substantial fraction of human prostate cancers in vivo and in prostate cancer cell lines. Altered FGF signaling can potentially have a variety of effects, including stimulating cell proliferation and inhibiting cell death. To determine the biologic significance of altered FGF signaling in human prostate cancer, we disrupted signaling by expression of a dominant-negative (DN) FGF receptor in prostate cancer cell lines.
Methods: PC-3, LNCaP, and DU145 prostate cancer cells were stably transfected with DN FGFR constructs, and LNCaP and DU145 cells were infected with a recombinant adenovirus expressing DN FGFR-1. The effect of DN FGFR-1 expression was assessed by colony-formation assays, cell proliferation assays, flow cytometry, and cytogenetic analysis. Key regulators involved in the G(2)-to-M cell cycle transition were assessed by western blotting to examine cyclin B1 expression and by in vitro kinase assay to assess cdc2 kinase activity.
Results: Stable transfection of the DN FGFR-1 construct inhibited colony formation by more than 99% in all three cell lines. Infection of LNCaP and DU145 prostate cancer cells with adenovirus expressing DN FGFR-1 led to extensive cell death within 48 hours. Flow cytometry and cytogenetic analysis revealed that the DN FGFR-1 receptor led to arrest in the G(2) phase of the cell cycle before cell death. Cyclin B1 accumulated in DN FGFR-1-infected LNCaP cells, but cdc2 kinase activity was decreased.
Conclusions: These findings reveal an unexpected dependence of prostate cancer cells on FGF receptor signal transduction to traverse the G(2)/M checkpoint. The mechanism for the G(2) arrest is not clear. Our results raise the possibility that FGF-signaling antagonists might enhance the cell death induced by other prostate cancer therapies.