In exploring the biological basis of androgen-independent prostate cancer, we observed serum-independent growth of androgen-independent cells. We then discovered that in androgen-independent but not androgen-dependent cells, the serum-responsive gene c-fos is insensitive to phorbol esters, which regulate c-fos through the same mechanisms as serum. Transient expression of protein kinase C, through which phorbol esters activate c-fos, was sufficient to desensitize c-fos in androgen-dependent cells. Incubation in protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine killed androgen-independent but not androgen-dependent cells. This finding implicates protein kinase C activity in androgen-independent prostate cancer and suggests novel therapeutic strategies.
This work was supported by a Young Investigator Grant from the National Kidney Foundation (A. K.), American Cancer Society Institutional Awards (A. K., G. B.), the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center.