Androgen ablation therapy is the primary treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. However, this therapy is associated with several undesired side-effects, including increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. To study if termination of long-term androgen ablation and restoration of testosterone levels could suppress the growth of relapsed hormone-refractory prostate tumors, we implanted testosterone pellets in castrated nude mice carrying androgen receptor (AR)-positive LNCaP 104-R2 cells, which relapsed from androgen-dependent LNCaP 104-S cells after long-term androgen deprivation. 104-R2 tumor xenografts regressed after testosterone pellets were implanted. Of 33 tumors, 24 adapted to elevation of testosterone level and relapsed as androgen-insensitive tumors. Relapsed tumors (R2Ad) expressed less AR and prostate-specific antigen. We then studied the molecular mechanism underlying the androgenic regulation of prostate cancer cell proliferation. Androgen suppresses proliferation of 104-R2 by inducing G(1) cell cycle arrest through reduction of S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) and c-Myc, and induction of p27(Kip1). 104-R2 cells adapted to androgen treatment and the adapted cells, R2Ad, were androgen-insensitive cells with a slower growth rate and low protein level of AR, high levels of c-Myc and Skp2, and low levels of p27(Kip1). Nuclear AR and prostate-specific antigen expression is present in 104-R2 cells but not R2Ad cells when androgen is absent. Overexpression of AR in R2Ad cells regenerated an androgen-repressed phenotype; knockdown of AR in 104-R2 cells generated an androgen-insensitive phenotype. Overexpression of Skp2 and c-Myc in 104-R2 cells blocked the growth inhibition caused by androgens. We concluded that androgens cause growth inhibition in LNCaP 104-R2 prostate cancer cells through AR, Skp2, and c-Myc.
© 2011 Japanese Cancer Association.