Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-6 inhibits prostate cancer cell proliferation: implication for anticancer effect of diethylstilbestrol in hormone refractory prostate cancer

Br J Cancer. 2005 Apr 25;92(8):1538-44. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602520.


Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic oestrogen, and its anticancer effects are exerted in androgen-dependent prostate cancer. The administration of DES decreases serum testosterone to castration levels. However, in androgen-independent prostate cancer patients, who are already orchiectomised, the administration of DES improves symptoms and decreases prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The mechanisms responsible for these direct inhibitory effects have been explained as biological actions not mediated by oestrogen receptors. We assessed the gene expression profiles of prostate cancer cells treated with DES, and investigated direct inhibitory effects of DES. DES inhibited the proliferation of LNCaP and PC-3 cells. cDNA microarray analysis showed that expression of many genes was downregulated by DES. However, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 6 (IGFBP-6) gene expression levels were upregulated in PC-3 cells. IGFBP-6 gene expression and protein levels significantly increased after DES treatment. Recombinant IGFBP-6 inhibited cell proliferation, and the inhibitory effect of DES was neutralised by anti-IGFBP-6 antibody. From the immunohistochemical analysis of IGFBP-6 using biopsy samples from androgen-independent prostate cancer, we found IGFBP-6 expression in androgen independent prostate cancer, and that DES treatment increased the IGFBP-6 staining intensity of the cancer cells in one sample. These findings suggested that DES induces IGFBP-6, which inhibits cell proliferation in an androgen-independent prostate cancer cell line, PC-3. IGFBP-6 therefore might be involved in the direct effects of DES in androgen-independent prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Diethylstilbestrol / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 6 / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 6 / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 6 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Hormones
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 6
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Diethylstilbestrol