Beth R Pflug

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

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Publications (26)94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The endothelins (ET) are a group of proteins that act through G-protein coupled receptors. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) was initially identified as a potent vasoconstrictor and dysregulation of the ET axis contributes to pathological processes responsible for cardiovascular disease states. More recently, the ET axis, in particular ET-1 acting through the endothelin A receptor (ET(A) ), has been implicated in the development of several cancers through activation of pathways involved in cell proliferation, migration, invasion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, osteogenesis and angiogenesis. The endothelin B receptor (ET(B) ) may counter tumour progression by promoting apoptosis and clearing ET-1; however, it has recently been implicated in the development of some tumour types including melanomas and oligodendrogliomas. Here, we review emerging preclinical and clinical data outlining the role of the ET axis in cancer, and its antagonism as an attractive and challenging approach to improve clinical cancer management. Clinical data of ET(A) antagonists in patients with prostate cancer are encouraging and provide promise for new ET(A) antagonist-based treatment strategies. Given the unexpected opportunities to affect pleiotrophic tumorigenic signals by targeting ET(A)-mediated pathways in a number of cancers, the evaluation of ET-targeted therapy in cancer warrants further investigation.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 01/2011; 163(2):220-33. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The androgen-androgen receptor signaling pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer. Accordingly, androgen deprivation has been the most effective endocrine therapy for hormone-dependent prostate cancer. Here, we report a novel pregnane X receptor (PXR)-mediated and metabolism-based mechanism to reduce androgenic tone. PXR is a nuclear receptor previously known as a xenobiotic receptor regulating the expression of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters. We showed that genetic (using a PXR transgene) or pharmacological (using a PXR agonist) activation of PXR lowered androgenic activity and inhibited androgen-dependent prostate regeneration in castrated male mice that received daily injections of testosterone propionate by inducing the expression of cytochrome P450 (CYP)3As and hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase (SULT)2A1, which are enzymes important for the metabolic deactivation of androgens. In human prostate cancer cells, treatment with the PXR agonist rifampicin (RIF) inhibited androgen-dependent proliferation of LAPC-4 cells but had little effect on the growth of the androgen-independent isogenic LA99 cells. Down-regulation of PXR or SULT2A1 in LAPC-4 cells by short hairpin RNA or small interfering RNA abolished the RIF effect, indicating that the inhibitory effect of RIF on androgens was PXR and SULT2A1 dependent. In summary, we have uncovered a novel function of PXR in androgen homeostasis. PXR may represent a novel therapeutic target to lower androgen activity and may aid in the treatment and prevention of hormone-dependent prostate cancer.
    Endocrinology 10/2010; 151(12):5721-9. · 4.72 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Urology - J UROL. 01/2010; 183(4).
  • Ejc Supplements - EJC SUPPL. 01/2010; 8(7):42-42.
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    ABSTRACT: The transmembrane molecule, translocator protein (TSPO), has been implicated in the progression of epithelial tumors. TSPO gene expression is high in tissues involved in steroid biosynthesis, neurodegenerative disease, and in cancer, and overexpression has been shown to contribute to pathologic conditions including cancer progression in several different models. The goal of our study was to examine the expression and biological relevance of TSPO in prostate cancer and show that the commonly prescribed benzodiazepine lorazepam, a ligand for TSPO, exhibits anticancer properties. Immunohistochemical analysis using tissue microarrays was used to determine the expression profile of TSPO in human prostate cancer tissues. To show the effect of TSPO ligands (lorazepam and PK11195) in prostate cancer, we used cell proliferation assays, apoptosis ELISA, prostate cancer xenograft study, and immunohistochemistry. TSPO expression is increased in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, primary prostate cancer, and metastases compared with normal prostate tissue and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Furthermore, TSPO expression correlates with disease progression, as TSPO levels increased with increasing Gleason sum and stage with prostate cancer metastases demonstrating the highest level of expression among all tissues examined. Functionally, we have shown that lorazepam has antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, we have shown that TSPO overexpression in nontumorigenic cells conferred susceptibility to lorazepam-induced growth inhibition. These data suggest that blocking TSPO function in tumor cells induces cell death and denotes a survival role for TSPO in prostate cancer and provides the first evidence for the use of benzodiazepines in prostate cancer therapeutics.
    Clinical Cancer Research 10/2009; 15(19):6177-84. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    Arlee Fafalios, Beth R. Pflug
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To determine the functional role of Translocator Protein (TSPO) in prostate cancer progression. Scope: To demonstrate the effect of TSPO ligands in prostate cancer, we utilized cell proliferation assays, apoptosis ELISAs, and a prostate cancer mouse xenograft study. Our findings provide the first evidence of the anti-tumor effects of lorazepam acting on TSPO. To determine the effect of modulating TSPO expression, we performed overexpression and knockdown studies. These studies provided further evidence that lorazepam is acting through TSPO, as overexpression of TSPO conferred increased susceptibility to lorazepam while TSPO knockdown decreased susceptibility. We investigated the role of TSPO multimers in prostate cancer. TSPO multimers can be induced by reactive oxygen species and may be formed through a di-tyrosine covalent bond. TSPO expression increases with prostate cancer progression. The benzodiazepine lorazepam exerts its anticancer effects through its binding to TSPO. Major findings: Collectively, these data suggest that TSPO is an excellent therapeutic target for advanced disease and that our preclinical results demonstrating that the already existing FDA-approved drug lorazepam has anti-tumor effects could be easily translated to the prostate cancer patient population. These studies could lead to a significant change in the management of prostate cancer by providing a treatment option with minimal toxicity for use in advanced disease and could ultimately prevent prostate cancer deaths.
    08/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Following androgen ablation therapy, the majority of prostate cancer patients develop treatment resistance with a median time of 18-24 months to disease progression. To identify molecular targets that promote prostate cancer cell survival and contribute to androgen independence, we evaluated changes in LNCaP cell gene expression during 12 months of androgen deprivation. At time points reflecting critical growth and phenotypic changes, we performed Affymetrix expression array analysis to examine the effects of androgen deprivation during the acute response, during the period of apparent quiescence, and following the emergence of a highly proliferative, androgen-independent prostate cancer cell phenotype (LNCaP-AI). We discovered alterations in gene expression for molecules associated with promoting prostate cancer cell growth and survival, and regulating cell cycle progression and apoptosis. Additionally, expression of AR co-regulators, adrenal androgen metabolizing enzymes, and markers of neuroendocrine disease were significantly altered. These findings contribute greatly to our understanding of androgen-independent prostate cancer. The value of this longitudinal approach lies in the ability to examine gene expression changes throughout the adaptive response to androgen deprivation; it provides a more dynamic illustration of genes which contribute to disease progression in addition to specific genes which constitute an androgen-independent phenotype.
    The Prostate 06/2008; 68(7):698-714. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the effects of suppression of endothelin-A (ET(A)) receptors on bladder function and ET-1 levels in the bladder in rats with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). We transected the spinal cord of female Sprague-Dawley rats at the level of Th 8-9. Awake cystometrograms were performed 4 weeks after spinal cord transection. We evaluated cystometric parameters such as mean amplitudes of nonvoiding contractions (NVCs), the number of NVCs, voided volume, voiding efficiency, and micturition pressure before and after intravenous (i.v.) injection of ABT-627, an ET(A) antagonist, or A-19261, an ET(B) antagonist, in SCI animals. Four weeks after spinalization, we also measured the protein and mRNA levels of ET-1 in the bladder using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). ABT-627 (1 mg/kg, i.v.) but not A-192621 (10 mg/kg, i.v.) significantly decreased the amplitude of NVCs and the number of NVCs in SCI rats. There were no significant changes in pressure threshold, maximum voiding pressure, voided volume, or voiding efficiency. ELISA analysis for ET-1 showed significantly elevated protein concentrations in SCI rats compared with spinal cord intact rats. Significant upregulation of the ET-1 mRNA was also noted in SCI bladders. These results suggest that upregulation of ET-1 is involved in the mechanism inducing bladder overactivity in chronic SCI rats, and that an ET(A) receptor antagonist can suppress SCI-induced bladder overactivity as indicated by a reduction in NVCs. Thus, ET(A) receptor inhibition could be an effective treatment for neurogenic bladder overactivity in pathological conditions such as SCI.
    Urology 03/2008; 71(2):341-5. · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (Z)-1-1-Dichloro-2,3-diphenylcyclopropane (A(II)) and (Z)-1,1-dichloro-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3-phenylcyclopropane [2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-A(II)] inhibit tubulin polymerization, PSA production, and the proliferation of human prostate cancer cells. The actions of the agents were studied in three transgenic adenocarcinomas of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) cell lines. Antiproliferative potencies were determined and cells treated with the more potent 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-A(II) were examined for induction of apoptosis. Microarray analyses were conducted to determine the apoptosis-related genes up- and down-regulated by the agent. 2-(4-Methoxyphenyl)-A(II) concentration-dependently inhibited growth of all three cell lines. Fifty percent and 100% growth inhibitory and 50% lethal concentrations were determined to be 0.3, 1.5, and 5 µM, respectively. Minimum detectable apoptosis-inducing concentrations by ELISA were 0.10 to 0.14 µM. PARP cleavage and two-color flow cytometry assays verified apoptosis induction. Microarray analyses showed Bok and Siva-pending to be up-regulated and that Birc, Dad1, and Atf5 were down-regulated. 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-A(II) inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in the in vivo-adaptable TRAMP cells, suggesting the compound should be further examined in preclinical models.
    Urologic Oncology 01/2008; 26(4):378-385. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence supports a role for endothelin-1 (ET-1), endothelin A and B receptors (ET(A) and ET(B), respectively), and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) in the progression of prostate carcinoma. In clinical trials for advanced prostate cancer, ET axis blockade significantly delayed the time to disease progression in a subset of patients. We examined ET axis expression in prostate cancer, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and normal adjacent tissue and then analyzed the relationship of the protein levels with disease progression. The expression levels of ET(A), ET(B), and NEP were determined in 120 prostate cancer specimens obtained at surgery or biopsy by immunohistochemistry. In situ hybridization on a subset of the specimens was used to confirm the immunohistochemistry findings. In regions of adenocarcinoma, immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated high ET(A) expression in 72% of the specimens. ET(A) expression was significantly elevated with increased pathologic stage and grade. ET(B) and NEP levels were significantly decreased in adenocarcinoma compared with normal adjacent tissue and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia; however, reduced expression did not correlate with tumor grade or stage. Patients with prostate-specific antigen recurrence had significantly greater ET(A) levels in their primary tumors than did patients who were disease free 5 years after prostatectomy. Patients with high ET(A) expression in the adenocarcinoma regions with low ET(B) and NEP had a significantly decreased interval to prostate-specific antigen progression compared with patients with low ET(A) or high ET(B)/NEP expression. These data suggest two patterns of ET(A) expression in primary prostate cancer, with increased expression correlating with more advanced disease. The use of these expression patterns to identify patients more likely to respond to ET axis blockade might enhance treatment outcomes.
    Urology 08/2007; 70(1):209-15. · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor that has been shown to significantly impact many benign and malignant tissues by signaling through its two cognate receptors: ET(A) and ET(B). As ET-1 has a role in both normal and diseased kidney, we initiated studies to investigate endothelin axis expression and function in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this study, relatively high levels of ET-1 were detected in all six human RCC cell lines investigated. RT-PCR and Southern analyses revealed that all six RCC cell lines expressed ET(A) receptor mRNA, while 3/6 cell lines also expressed ET(B) mRNA. High affinity ET-1 binding occurred in all but one RCC cell line and quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated ET(A) mRNA expression in all six cell lines. Methylation of the ET(B) promoter (EDNRB) in 4/6 RCC cell lines was observed, suggesting a mechanism for repressed ET(B) expression. Moreover, methylation occurred in 32/48 of renal tumors and in 27/55 of histologically normal adjacent tissue samples studied, while no methylation was evident in any normal tissue isolated from nephrectomy or at autopsy. Functionally, ET-1 significantly inhibited paclitaxel-induced apoptosis in RCC cells through binding ET(A) with the ET-1 signaling mediated via the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway. Collectively, these data support the therapeutic targeting of the ET(A) receptor as a novel treatment strategy for RCC.
    Cancer Letters 03/2007; 246(1-2):139-48. · 5.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelin (ET) 1 is important in the growth of prostate cancer cells through the activation of the endothelin A (ET(A)) receptor. ET receptor blockade is a new therapeutic target in treating advanced prostate cancer. This study investigates the impact of the combination of the ET(A) antagonist atrasentan (ABT-627) and taxane chemotherapy on prostate cancer cell survival in vitro and on the delay of prostate cancer in a xenograft mouse model. In vitro, PPC-1 cells transfected with an ET(A)-overexpressing vector were treated with ABT-627, paclitaxel/docetaxel, or both. Clonogenic viability and cell death assays were used to determine cell survival and apoptosis, respectively. ABT-627 and docetaxel combination treatment was used in vivo to treat mice with established ET(A)-overexpressing PPC-1 xenograft tumors, and tumor growth rates were assessed. Cell proliferation and vascularity were determined with Ki-67 and CD31 staining, respectively. Cells treated with combination therapy had significantly fewer viable cells and more programmed cell death than cells given monotherapy. Xenograft tumor growth rates were significantly lower in mice treated with combination therapy than in animals given a single agent. Ki-67 immunostaining demonstrated significantly fewer proliferative cells following combination therapy than following monotherapy. This study demonstrates ABT-627 to have additive antitumor effects when used in combination with taxane drugs both in vitro and in vivo.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 10/2006; 8(9):725-32. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer cells frequently exhibit a significant increase in overexpression and activity of fatty acid synthase (FASN). Elevated FASN pathway activity also occurs in prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States. Studies show that genes associated with an increase in protein expression, such as HER2/neu in breast cancer, are associated with an increase in gene copy number as well as an increase in transcription. In the present study, we evaluated whether FASN follows a similar paradigm in prostate cancer. To date, elevated FASN expression in prostate cancer has not been correlated with gene copy number alterations. Using immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis in paraffin-embedded tissue microarrays, we observed gene copy gain in 24% of all prostate adenocarcinoma specimens examined with concurrent increased FASN protein expression. Immunohistochemistry alone showed 59% of prostate cancer specimens in the same tissue microarray with high FASN expression. Increased FASN gene was observed in 53% of all prostate tissues expressing elevated FASN protein levels and in 2 of 5 prostate tumor cell lines tested. These findings suggest that FASN gene copy number increases may be involved in the resultant increase in FASN protein expression observed in prostatic disease.
    Human Pathlogy 05/2006; 37(4):401-9. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitogenic and anti-apoptotic actions of endothelin-1 (ET-1) are mediated through endothelin A (ET(A)) receptors. We investigated endothelin receptor expression in increasingly aggressive phenotype and in vivo effects of combination therapy using ET(A) antagonist with paclitaxel. Dunning prostate cancer cells ranged in aggressiveness from non-tumorigenic G, to tumorigenic, non-metastatic AT-1, and to tumorigenic and metastatic MLL. Binding assays were performed alongside Q-PCR to assess receptor density. MLL xenografts were treated with vehicle, atrasentan, paclitaxel, and paclitaxel+atrasentan. Saturation binding assays demonstrated endothelin receptor density of MLL and AT-1 cells seven- and threefold higher than G cells, respectively. Q-PCR showed 9- and 4.5-fold greater ET(A) mRNA expression in MLL and AT-1 than G cells, respectively and no endothelin receptor B (ET(B)) expression. Combination therapy had significant effect on reduction of tumor volume than paclitaxel or atrasentan alone. ET(A) expression increases in aggressive prostate carcinoma. ET(A) blockade combined with paclitaxel may reduce tumor growth in advanced prostate carcinoma.
    The Prostate 10/2005; 65(1):27-34. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endothelin-1 (ET-1), produced by the prostate epithelia, likely plays an important role in the progression of prostate cancer. ET-1 can bind two receptor subtypes; generally, binding of the endothelin receptor A (ET(A)) induces a survival pathway, whereas binding of the endothelin receptor B (ET(B)) mediates clearance of circulating ET-1 as well as promotes apoptosis. In prostate carcinoma, hypermethylation of the ET(B) promoter results in repression of ET(B) expression, thereby eliminating the negative growth response that ET-1 binding elicits through this receptor. Therefore, activation of ET(A) exclusively provides a pathway for survival advantage. Our current studies examine the mechanisms by which activation of the ET(A) may allow growth/survival. ET-1 treatment of prostate tumor cells significantly decreased paclitaxel-induced apoptosis through activation of the ET(A) subtype. The anti-apoptotic effects of ET-1 are mediated, at least in part, through the Bcl-2 family. Although no significant changes in Bcl-2 expression occurred with ET-1 treatment, the pro-apoptotic family members Bad, Bax, and Bak all decreased significantly. Further analysis of the survival pathway demonstrated that phosphorylation of Akt occurs with ET-1 treatment in a time- and dose-dependent manner through phosphatidyinositol 3-kinase activation. These data support the combination of ET(A) antagonists and apoptosis-inducing therapies for prostate cancer treatment.
    Neoplasia 08/2005; 7(7):631-7. · 5.47 Impact Factor
  • Neoplasia. 01/2005; 7(7):631-637.
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    ABSTRACT: The biologic effects of endothelin-1 (ET-1) are not limited to its potent vasoconstricting activity. The endothelin receptors, ETA and ETB, have differential tissue and functional distributions. Here we showed that dendritic cells (DCs), the major antigen-presenting cells in the adaptive limb of the immune system, produce large amounts of ET-1 and significantly increase the expression of endothelin receptors upon maturation. Selective blockade of the ETA receptor significantly reduced expression of the mature DC marker CD83, decreased the production of the immunostimulatory cytokine interleukin-12, down-regulated DC ability to stimulate T cells, and promoted DC apoptosis. Selective ETB receptor blockade, on the other hand, resulted in increased expression of CD83 and improved DC survival. Therefore, ET-1/ETA/ETB autocrine/paracrine loops on DCs appear to be essential for the normal maturation and function of human DCs, presenting a unique target for immunomodulatory therapies.
    Blood 11/2004; 104(7):2107-15. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the effects of endothelin (ET) receptor activation in the bladder and the spinal cord on the micturition reflex in urethane anesthetized rats. The effects of ET receptor activation on bladder activity were examined during continuous infusion cystometrograms. ET-1 was administered intrathecally or intravesically in normal rats or rats pretreated with capsaicin. The effects of intravenous injection of the selective ETA receptor antagonist ABT-627, or selective ETB receptor antagonist A-192621 (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois) intrathecal injection of the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone hydrochloride on changes in bladder activity induced by intravesical or intrathecal ET-1 administration were investigated. Intravesical injection of ET-1 (0.1 to 10 microM) induced detrusor overactivity, as evidenced by a decrease in intercontraction intervals, in a dose dependent manner. ET-1 induced detrusor overactivity was suppressed by intravenous application of ABT-627 (0.1 mg/kg) as well as capsaicin pretreatment but not by A-192621. In contrast, intrathecal injection of ET-1 (0.5 to 50 fmol) increased intercontraction intervals dose dependently and ET-1 at a higher dose (50 fmol) induced urinary retention. These inhibitory effects were antagonized by ABT-627 (10 mg/kg) and also by intrathecal application of naloxone but not by A-192621. These results indicate that the activation of ETA receptors in capsaicin sensitive C-fiber afferents in the bladder can induce detrusor overactivity, while ETA receptor activation in the spinal cord can inhibit the micturition reflex via activation of a spinal opioid mechanism. Thus, targeting peripheral ETA receptors could be an effective treatment for bladder overactivity and/or painful conditions.
    The Journal of Urology 11/2004; 172(4 Pt 1):1533-7. · 3.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Some men treated with atrasentan (ABT-627), an endothelin A (ETA) receptor inhibitor, had declines in their serum PSA levels. It is our hypothesis that this decrease is due to anti-tumoral activity and not a reduction in PSA secretion at the cellular level. Two PSA secreting prostate cancer cell lines (LAPC4 and LNCaP) were treated with atrasentan and an ETB receptor antagonist (A192621) in varying concentrations (10(-6)-10(-10) M) and PSA levels were measured in the culture media. LNCaP and LAPC4 cells both express ETA receptors. Neither the ETA or ETB antagonist altered PSA secretion, while addition of DHT, a positive control, produced a marked increase in PSA secretion. Blockade of the ETA receptor does not affect the secretion of PSA in prostate cancer cell lines.
    The Prostate 09/2004; 60(3):175-7. · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acid synthase (FAS) is the major enzyme required to convert carbohydrates to fatty acids. Recent evidence suggests that FAS activity is essential for prostate cancer growth and survival, since blocking the enzyme activity results in cell death. In this study, the role of FAS up-regulation during prostate tumor progression in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model was investigated. Sensitivity to FAS anti-metabolites was also analyzed in TRAMP prostate tumor cells and tissue to determine therapeutic potential of FAS inhibition in the treatment of prostate cancer. FAS expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry of TRAMP tissues, including primary and metastatic lesions in mice of varying ages. FAS pathway activity was studied in vitro using TRAMP-derived cell lines and in vivo in TRAMP tissues. The sensitivity of TRAMP cell lines and tissues to the antimetabolite drugs (2R,3S)-2,3-epoxy-4-oxo-7,10-trans, transdodecadienamide (cerulenin) and C-75, which target FAS, was determined by FAS antimetabolite inhibition of 14C-acetate conversion to fatty acids, cell growth inhibition, and apoptosis analyses. High FAS expression and activity in the TRAMP mouse prostate was evident at 12 weeks of age compared with nontransgenic littermates and further increased with age, tumor progression, and in metastatic lesions. FAS pathway inhibition resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in cell survival and decreased enzyme activity in these models. These data suggest that the up-regulation of FAS expression play a role in tumorigenesis of the prostate in the TRAMP model and hence can provide valuable insight into human prostate cancer. Given the response of tumor cells to FAS antimetabolites, FAS may serve as a novel target for prostate cancer therapy.
    The Prostate 12/2003; 57(3):245-54. · 3.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

645 Citations
94.00 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
      Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • 2001–2009
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Urology
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 2004
    • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
      • Department of Urology
      Newark, NJ, United States
  • 1999
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States