Systemic administration of antisense oligonucleotides simultaneously targeting CK2α and α' subunits reduces orthotopic xenograft prostate tumors in mice

Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 Oct;356(1-2):21-35. doi: 10.1007/s11010-011-0943-x. Epub 2011 Jul 15.


CK2 is a highly conserved, ubiquitous, signal responsive protein serine/threonine kinase. CK2 promotes cell proliferation and suppresses apoptosis, and increased CK2 expression is observed in all cancers examined. We previously reported that direct injection of antisense (AS) CK2α phosphorothioate oligonucleotides (PTO) into xenograft prostate tumors in mice significantly reduced tumor size. Downregulation of CK2α in tumor cells in vivo appeared to result in overexpression of CK2α' protein. This suggested that in cancer cells downregulation of CK2α might be compensated by CK2α' in vivo, prompting us to design a bispecific (bs) AS PTO (bs-AS-CK2) targeting both catalytic subunits. bs-AS-CK2 reduced CK2α and α' protein expression, decreased cell proliferation, and induced apoptosis in cultured cells. Biodistribution studies of administered bs-AS-CK2 oligonucleotide demonstrated its presence in orthotopic prostate xenograft tumors. High dose injections of bs-AS-CK2 resulted in no damage to normal liver or prostate, but induced extensive cell death in tumor tissue. Intraperitoneal treatment with bs-AS-CK2 PTO decreased orthotopic tumor size and downregulated both CK2 mRNA and protein expression. Tumor reduction was accomplished using remarkably low doses and was improved by dividing the dose using a multi-day schedule. Decreased expression of the key signaling pathway proteins NF-κB p65 and AKT was also observed. We propose that the molecular downregulation of CK2 through bispecific targeting of the two catalytic subunits may be uniquely useful for therapeutic elimination of tumors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Casein Kinase II / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Casein Kinase II / genetics
  • Casein Kinase II / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / administration & dosage*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacokinetics
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Protein Subunits / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution / drug effects
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate