The combination of metformin and valproic acid induces synergistic apoptosis in the presence of p53 and androgen signaling in prostate cancer

N Tran, Ganessan Kichenadasse, Lisa Butler, Magaret Centenera, Katherine Morel, Rebecca Ormsby, Michael Michael, Karen Lower, Pamela Sykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the potential of combining the hypoglycemic drug metformin (MET) and the antiepileptic drug valproic acid (VPA), which act via different biochemical pathways, to provide enhanced antitumor responses in prostate cancer. Prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP and PC-3), normal prostate epithelial cells (PrEC), and patient-derived prostate tumor explants were treated with MET and/or VPA. Proliferation and apoptosis were assessed. The role of p53 in response to MET + VPA was assessed in cell lines using RNAi in LNCaP (p53+) and ectopic expression of p53 in PC-3 (p53-). The role of the androgen receptor (AR) was investigated using the AR antagonist enzalutamide. The combination of MET and VPA synergistically inhibited proliferation in LNCaP and PC-3, with no significant effect in PrEC. LNCaP, but not PC-3, demonstrated synergistic intrinsic apoptosis in response to MET + VPA. Knockdown of p53 in LNCaP (p53+, AR+) reduced the synergistic apoptotic response as did inhibition of AR. Ectopic expression of p53 in PC-3 (p53-, AR-) increased apoptosis in response to MET + VPA. In patient-derived prostate tumor explants, MET + VPA also induced a significant decrease in proliferation and an increase in apoptosis in tumor cells. In conclusion, we demonstrate that MET + VPA can synergistically kill more prostate cancer cells than either drug alone. The response is dependent on the presence of p53 and AR signaling, which have critical roles in prostate carcinogenesis. Further in vivo/ex vivo preclinical studies are required to determine the relative efficacy of MET + VPA as a potential treatment for prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2689-2700
Number of pages12
JournalMOLECULAR CANCER THERAPEUTICS
Volume16
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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