Introduction: Prostate Cancer (PC) cells utilize androgen for their growth. Therefore, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) that blocks both systemic androgen production and androgen receptor (AR) signaling remains the mainstay of PC treatment. However, despite the efficacy of AR antagonists such as bicalutamide (BIC) and enzalutamide (ENZ), their sub-therapeutic efficacy in tumor microenvironments enable the selection and outgrowth of castration resistant PC (CRPC). Interestingly, CRPC cells continue to express AR and exploit the intratumoral androgen. Hence, alternate strategies to suppress AR expression in PC cells will be needed to enhance the efficacy of BIC and ENZ. The phytochemical, sulforaphane (SFN) is known to decrease AR protein levels. We hypothesize that co-exposure to SFN will increase the anti-cancer efficacy of BIC/ENZ.

Methods: The AR expressing PC lines, both androgen-dependent (AD) LNCaP cells and androgen-independent CRPC cells (C4-2B), were used to investigate the effects of BIC or ENZ, alone and in combination with SFN. The following cellular parameters were evaluated: (a) cell proliferation by MTT-assay; (b) clonogenic ability by colony forming unit (CFU); (c) AR expression by immunoblot analysis; (d) subcellular AR localization by immunofluorescence microscropy (IFM); (e) AR and prostate specific antigen (PSA) gene expression by qRT-PCR; and (e) PSA protein secretion by ELISA. Studies were carried out under hormone deprived (charcoal-stripped FBS) conditions and/or in presence of AR agonist, R1881.

Results: Co-exposure to SFN (10μM) significantly (p<0.05) enhanced the anti-proliferative effects of BIC (50μM) or ENZ (20μM) at 48 h post treatment, and suppressed R1881 stimulated PC growth, as well. At much lower concentrations, SFN (0.2μM) co-exposure enhanced the suppressive effects of BIC (0.5μM) or ENZ (0.2μM) on both the number and size of CFUs at 14 days. Western blot analysis revealed that SFN decreases AR protein levels in a time- and dose-dependent manner. IFM analysis indicated that SFN suppresses R1881-stimulated AR nuclear localization. Cycloheximide treatment suggested that SFN's effect on AR is primarily regulated at the translational level. Experiments with MG-132, a proteasomal inhibitor indicated that the SFN-induced AR degradation is partially regulated by the proteasomal pathway. Studies with qRT-PCR showed that SFN enhances the efficacy of BIC in suppressing PSA mRNA levels and decreased PSA protein secretion was also corroborated by ELISA.

Conclusion: Sulforaphane decreases AR levels in both LNCaP and C4-2B cells to increase the anti-cancer efficacy of AR antagonists in a synergistic manner. This implies that adjuvant therapy with this safe phytochemical may be very promising.

Citation Format: Namrata Khurana, Sudha Talwar, Partha Chandra, Asim B. Abdel-Mageed, Debasis Mondal, Suresh Sikka. Sulforaphane enhances the anti-cancer efficacy of anti-androgens in prostate cancer cells (LNCaP and C4-2B) by increasing androgen receptor (AR) degradation. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 2990.