Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Medicine

Department

Toxicology

First Advisor

Dr. Natasha Kyprianou

Abstract

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality among men in the US. Androgens are functionally required for the normal growth of the prostate gland and play a critical role in prostate tumor development and progression. Epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) is an important process during normal development, and cancer cell metastasis.

This study examined the ability of androgens to influence EMT of prostate cancer epithelial cells and evaluate the effect of taxol chemotherapy on androgen signaling in prostate cancer cells in prostate cancer. The EMT pattern was evaluated on the basis of expression of the epithelial markers as well as cytoskeleton reorganization in respond to DHT (1nM) and/or TGFβ (5ng/ml). Overexpressing and silencing approaches to regulate androgen receptor (AR) expression were conducted to determine the involvement of AR in EMT in the presence or absence of an AR antagonist. The AR transcriptional activity was determined on the basis of prostate specific antigen (PSA) mRNA expression and the androgen-response element (ARE) luciferase reporter assay. The interaction of AR and tubulin was investigated using immunoprecipitation, immunofluorescence as well as introduction of a truncated AR in human prostate cancer cells.

Our results demonstrate that androgens induce the EMT pattern in prostate tumor epithelial cell with Snail activation and led to significant changes in prostate cancer cell migration and invasion potential. Expression levels of AR inversely correlated with androgen-mediated EMT in prostate tumor epithelial cells, pointing to a low AR content required for the EMT phenotype. Our study also reveals that treatment of prostate cancer cells with Paclitaxel or Nocodaxol inhibits androgen-dependent, as well as androgen-independent AR nuclear translocation and activation potentially via targeting the interaction of AR and microtubule cytoskeletal structures. Our findings on multiple aspects of AR function in prostate cancer development and progression may enhance the understanding of AR targeting therapy being a double-sided sword in the context of tumor microenvironment. These studies provide new insights into the mechanism of action of chemotherapy agents and the development of therapeutic resistance within tubulin/microtubule repertoire in prostate cancer cells.

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