A recombinant adenovirus expressing wild-type Bax induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells independently of their Bcl-2 status and androgen sensitivity

Cancer Biol Ther. Mar-Apr 2002;1(2):163-7. doi: 10.4161/cbt.63.


Using a binary co-transfection strategy of Ad/GT Bax and Ad/PGK-GV16, we have succeeded in inducing overexpression of Bax protein in three prostate cell lines (androgen-insensitive DU145 and PC3, and androgen-sensitive LNCaP). The expression of Bax protein by this system was sufficient to induce all three prostate lines to undergo apoptosis. The fact that DU145 cells which have a p53 mutation and are deficient in Bax, responded to this treatment, suggests that this effect is independent of these pathways. Initiation of the cleavage of Caspase-3 (CPP32/Yama/apopain) and PARP (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase) by the introduction of Bax were confirmed by western blot analysis. Bcl-2 expression is relevant in the progression of prostate cancer and contributes to an androgen, apoptotic-resistant phenotype in the advanced stages. We examined stable Bcl-2 overexpressing DU145, PC3 and LNCaP cell lines as models of advanced prostate cancer. The adenoviral co-transfection system induced Bax protein expression and apoptosis even in these Bcl-2 transfected cell lines. Taken together, our results suggest that this Bax expression system might represent a useful gene therapy strategy when applied to the treatment of prostate cancer and its efficacy would be independent of the Bcl-2 status and androgen sensitivity of these cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Androgens / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology*
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein


  • Androgens
  • BAX protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases