Combination treatment with docetaxel and histone deacetylase inhibitors downregulates androgen receptor signaling in castration-resistant prostate cancer

Backgrounds Since most patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) develop resistance to its standard therapy docetaxel, many studies have attempted to identify novel combination treatment to meet the large clinical unmet need. In this study, we examined whether histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) enhanced the effect of docetaxel on AR signaling in CRPC cells harboring AR and its splice variants. Methods HDACIs (vorinostat and CG200745) were tested for their ability to enhance the effects of docetaxelon cell viability and inhibition of AR signaling in CRPC 22Rv1 and VCaP cells by using CellTiter-Glo™ Luminescent cell viability assay, synergy index analysis and Western blotting. The nuclear localization of AR was examined via immunocytochemical staining in 22Rv1 cells and primary tumor cells from a patient with CRPC. Results Combination treatment with HDACIs (vorinostat or CG200745) and docetaxel synergistically inhibited the growth of 22Rv1 and VCaP cells. Consistently, the combination treatment decreased the levels of full-length AR (AR-FL), AR splice variants (AR-Vs), prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins more efficiently compared with docetaxel or vorinostat alone. Moreover, the combination treatment accelerated the acetylation and bundling of tubulin, which significantly inhibited the nuclear accumulation of AR in 22Rv1 cells. The cytoplasmic colocalization of AR-FL and AR-V7 with microtubule bundles increased after combination treatment in primary tumor cells from a patient with CRPC. Conclusions The results suggested that docetaxel, in combination with HDACIs, suppressed the expression and nuclear translocation of AR-FL and AR-Vs and showed synergistic anti-proliferative effect in CRPC cells. This combination therapy may be useful for the treatment of patients with CRPC.

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