Research Papers:

Myc-dependent purine biosynthesis affects nucleolar stress and therapy response in prostate cancer

Stefan J. Barfeld _, Ladan Fazli, Margareta Persson, Lisette Marjavaara, Alfonso Urbanucci, Kirsi M. Kaukoniemi, Paul S. Rennie, Yvonne Ceder, Andrei Chabes, Tapio Visakorpi and Ian G. Mills

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:12587-12602. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3494

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Stefan J. Barfeld1, Ladan Fazli2, Margareta Persson3, Lisette Marjavaara4, Alfonso Urbanucci1, Kirsi M. Kaukoniemi5, Paul S. Rennie2, Yvonne Ceder3, Andrei Chabes4, Tapio Visakorpi5, Ian G. Mills1,6,7

1Prostate Research Group, Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM), Nordic EMBL Partnership, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

2The Vancouver Prostate Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada

3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

4Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), Nordic EMBL Partnership, University of Umeå, Umeå, Sweden

5Institute of Biosciences and Medical Technology, University of Tampere and Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

6Department of Cancer Prevention, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

7Department of Urology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Correspondence to:

Ian G. Mills, e-mail: [email protected]

Stefan J. Barfeld, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: prostate, cancer, nucleotide, transcription, metabolism

Received: September 28, 2014     Accepted: March 07, 2015     Published: April 01, 2015


The androgen receptor is a key transcription factor contributing to the development of all stages of prostate cancer (PCa). In addition, other transcription factors have been associated with poor prognosis in PCa, amongst which c-Myc (MYC) is a well-established oncogene in many other cancers. We have previously reported that the AR promotes glycolysis and anabolic metabolism; many of these metabolic pathways are also MYC-regulated in other cancers. In this study, we report that in PCa cells de novo purine biosynthesis and the subsequent conversion to XMP is tightly regulated by MYC and independent of AR activity. We characterized two enzymes, PAICS and IMPDH2, within the pathway as PCa biomarkers in tissue samples and report increased efficacy of established anti-androgens in combination with a clinically approved IMPDH inhibitor, mycophenolic acid (MPA). Treatment with MPA led to a significant reduction in cellular guanosine triphosphate (GTP) levels accompanied by nucleolar stress and p53 stabilization. In conclusion, targeting purine biosynthesis provides an opportunity to perturb PCa metabolism and enhance tumour suppressive stress responses.

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