TOFA (5-tetradecyl-oxy-2-furoic acid) reduces fatty acid synthesis, inhibits expression of AR, neuropilin-1 and Mcl-1 and kills prostate cancer cells independent of p53 status

Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 Jul 1;12(1):80-5. doi: 10.4161/cbt.12.1.15721. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


A key player in prostate cancer development and progression is the androgen receptor (AR). Tumor-associated lipogenesis can protect cancer cells from carcinogenic- and therapeutic-associated treatments. Increased synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol is regulated by androgens through induction of several genes in androgen-responsive cancer cells. Acetyl-CoA-carboxylase-α (ACCA) is a key enzyme in the regulation of fatty acids synthesis. Here we show that AR binds in vivo to intron regions of human ACCA gene. We also show that the level of ACCA protein in LNCaP depends on AR expression and that DHT treatment increases ACCA expression and fatty acid synthesis. Inhibition of ACCA by TOFA (5-tetradecyl-oxy-2-furoic acid) decreases fatty acid synthesis and induces caspase activation and cell death in most PCa cell lines. Our data suggest that TOFA can kill cells via the mitochondrial pathway since we found cytochrome c release after TOFA treatment in androgen sensitive cell lines. The results also imply that the pro-apoptotic effect of TOFA may be mediated via a decrease of neuropilin-1(NRP1) and Mcl-1expression. We have previously reported that Mcl-1 is under AR regulation and plays an important role in resistance to drug-induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells, and NRP1 is known to regulate Mcl-1 expression. Here, we show for the first time that NRP1 expression is under AR control. Taken together, our data suggest that TOFA is a potent cell death inducing agent in prostate cancer cells.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytochromes c / drug effects
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Furans / pharmacology*
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Neuropilin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neuropilin-1 / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*


  • AR protein, human
  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Furans
  • Lipids
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Neuropilin-1
  • 5-(tetradecyloxy)-2-furancarboxylic acid
  • Cytochromes c
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase