The β-Secretase 1 Enzyme as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Prostate Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Dec 19;16(1):10. doi: 10.3390/cancers16010010.


Recent studies have demonstrated the association of APP and Aβ with cancer, suggesting that BACE1 may play an important role in carcinogenesis. In the present study, we assessed BACE1's usefulness as a therapeutic target in prostate cancer (PCa). BACE1 expression was observed in human PCa tissue samples, patient-derived xenografts (PDX), human PCa xenograft tissue in nude mice, and transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) tissues by immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis. Additionally, the downstream product of BACE1 activity, i.e., Aβ1-42 expression, was also observed in these PCa tissues by IHC as well as by PET imaging in TRAMP mice. Furthermore, BACE1 gene expression and activity was confirmed in several established PCa cell lines (LNCaP, C4-2B-enzalutamide sensitive [S], C4-2B-enzalutamide resistant [R], 22Rv1-S, 22Rv1-R, PC3, DU145, and TRAMP-C1) by real-time PCR and fluorometric assay, respectively. Treatment with a pharmacological inhibitor of BACE1 (MK-8931) strongly reduced the proliferation of PCa cells in in vitro and in vivo models, analyzed by multiple assays (MTT, clonogenic, and trypan blue exclusion assays and IHC). Cell cycle analyses revealed an increase in the sub-G1 population and a significant modulation in other cell cycle stages (G1/S/G2/M) following MK-8931 treatment. Most importantly, in vivo administration of MK-8931 intraperitoneal (30 mg/kg) strongly inhibited TRAMP-C1 allograft growth in immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice (approximately 81% decrease, p = 0.019). Furthermore, analysis of tumor tissue using the prostate cancer-specific pathway array revealed the alteration of several genes involved in PCa growth and progression including Forkhead O1 (FOXO1). All together, these findings suggest BACE1 as a novel therapeutic target in advanced PCa.

Keywords: BACE1; MK-8931; amyloid β peptide; prostate cancer.