Research Papers:

APE1/Ref-1 redox-specific inhibition decreases survivin protein levels and induces cell cycle arrest in prostate cancer cells

David W. McIlwain, Melissa L. Fishel, Alexander Boos, Mark R. Kelley and Travis J. Jerde _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:10962-10977. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23493

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David W. McIlwain1, Melissa L. Fishel1,2, Alexander Boos1, Mark R. Kelley1,2,3 and Travis J. Jerde1

1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

2Department of Pediatrics, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Correspondence to:

Travis J. Jerde, email: [email protected]

Keywords: prostate cancer, APE1/Ref-1, survivin, NFκB signaling, redox regulation

Received: March 08, 2017     Accepted: September 15, 2017     Published: December 13, 2017


A key feature of prostate cancer progression is the induction and activation of survival proteins, including the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family member survivin. Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/redox effector factor 1 (APE1/Ref-1) is a multifunctional protein that is essential in activating oncogenic transcription factors. Because APE1/Ref-1 is expressed and elevated in prostate cancer, we sought to characterize APE1/Ref-1 expression and activity in human prostate cancer cell lines and determine the effect of selective reduction-oxidation (redox) function inhibition on prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Due to the role of oncogenic transcriptional activators NFĸB and STAT3 in survivin protein expression, and APE1/Ref-1 redox activity regulating their transcriptional activity, we assessed selective inhibition of APE1/Ref-1’s redox function as a novel method to halt prostate cancer cell growth and survival. Our study demonstrates that survivin and APE1/Ref-1 are significantly higher in human prostate cancer specimens compared to noncancerous controls and that APE1/Ref-1 redox-specific inhibition with small molecule inhibitor, APX3330 and a second-generation inhibitor, APX2009, decreases prostate cancer cell proliferation and induces cell cycle arrest. Inhibition of APE1/Ref-1 redox function significantly reduced NFĸB transcriptional activity, survivin mRNA and survivin protein levels. These data indicate that APE1/Ref-1 is a key regulator of survivin and a potentially viable target in prostate cancer.

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