Nitric Oxide-Mediated Inhibition of Androgen Receptor Activity: Possible Implications for Prostate Cancer Progression

Oncogene. 2007 Mar 22;26(13):1875-84. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209984. Epub 2006 Sep 18.


Chronic inflammation increases the risk of cancer and many cancers, including prostate cancer, arise at sites of chronic inflammation. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is an enzyme dominantly expressed during inflammatory reactions. Although synthesis of high amounts of nitric oxide (NO) by iNOS has been demonstrated in pathophysiological processes, such as acute or chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or tumorigenesis, the role of iNOS activity in most of these diseases is poorly understood. Analysing prostate cancer biopsies by immunohistochemistry we found iNOS protein expression in tumor cells strongly paralleled by nitrotyrosine suggesting that iNOS is fully active. In vitro, NO inhibits androgen receptor-dependent promoter activity and prostate specific antigen production as well as DNA-binding activity of the androgen receptor (AR) in a concentration-dependent manner. Inhibition of the activity of androgen receptor-dependent reporter constructs is neither owing to diminished AR protein levels nor owing to an inhibition of its nuclear import. In addition, NO inhibits the proliferation of androgen receptor-positive prostate cancer cells significantly more efficiently than proliferation of androgen receptor-negative prostate cancer cells. In summary, our findings suggest that intratumoral iNOS activity favors development of prostate cancer cells that are able to proliferate androgen receptor-independently, thereby promoting prostate tumor progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II