Research Papers:

Dual targeting of androgen receptor and mTORC1 by salinomycin in prostate cancer

Nooshin Mirkheshti, Sulgi Park, Shoulei Jiang, Jodie Cropper, Sherry L. Werner, Chung S. Song and Bandana Chatterjee _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:62240-62254. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11404

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Nooshin Mirkheshti1,*, Sulgi Park1,*, Shoulei Jiang1, Jodie Cropper1, Sherry L. Werner2, Chung S. Song1, Bandana Chatterjee1,3

1Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78245, USA

2Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78245, USA

3South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Bandana Chatterjee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: androgen receptor, CYP17A1, HSD3β1, mTORC1, AMPK

Received: March 17, 2016    Accepted: August 09, 2016    Published: August 19, 2016


Androgen receptor (AR) and PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 are major survival signals that drive prostate cancer to a lethal disease. Reciprocal activation of these oncogenic pathways from negative cross talks contributes to low/limited success of pathway-selective inhibitors in curbing prostate cancer progression. We report that the antibiotic salinomycin, a cancer stem cell blocker, is a dual-acting AR and mTORC1 inhibitor, inhibiting PTEN-deficient castration-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer in culture and xenograft tumors. AR expression, its transcriptional activity, and androgen biosynthesis regulating enzymes CYP17A1, HSD3β1 were reduced by sub-micro molar salinomycin. Estrogen receptor-α expression was unchanged. Loss of phosphorylated AR at serine-81, which is an index for nuclear AR activity, preceded total AR reduction. Rapamycin enhanced the AR protein level without altering phosphoAR-Ser81 and CYP17A1. Inactivation of mTORC1, evident from reduced phosphorylation of mTOR and downstream effectors, as well as AMPK activation led to robust autophagy induction. Apoptosis increased modestly, albeit significantly, by sub-micro molar salinomycin. Enhanced stimulatory TSC2 phosphorylation at Ser-1387 by AMPK, and reduced inhibitory TSC2 phosphorylation at Ser-939/Thr-1462 catalyzed by AKT augmented TSC2/TSC1 activity, which led to mTORC1 inhibition. AMPK-mediated raptor phosphorylation further reduced mTOR’s kinase function and mTORC1 activity. Our novel finding on dual inhibition of AR and mTORC1 suggests that salinomycin is potentially active as monotherapy against advanced prostate cancer.

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