Co-administration of tyrosine kinase inhibitors with rottlerin in metastatic prostate cancer cells

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Wojciech A. Cieślikowski
Tobias Haber
Slavomir Krajnak
Katharina Anic
Annette Hasenburg
Rene Mager
Joachim W. Thüroff
Walburgis Brenner


After prostatectomy due to prostate carcinoma, patients often develop metastases. Although prostate cancer is susceptible to hormonal manipulation, many patients become castration-resistant. Therefore, new therapies are the focus of investigations. We analyzed the effect of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), sorafenib and sunitinib, in combination with rottlerin, a PKCd inhibitor, on metastatic mechanisms in prostate carcinoma cells. LNCaP and PC-3 prostate carcinoma cells were treated with sorafenib or sunitinib alone at various concentrations (1-20 µM) or in combination with rottlerin (10 µM) for 24 h. Then, cell toxicity (MTT test) and cell proliferation (BrdU incorporation assay) were quantified. The study demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibitory effect of sorafenib and sunitinib on PC-3 and LNCaP cell activity and proliferation. Both agents showed significantly stronger cytotoxic effects in LNCaP cells. At the highest concentrations, sorafenib and sunitinib inhibited the viability of LNCaP cells up to 2 % and 31 %, respectively, and the viability of PC-3 cell line up to 20 % and 43 %, respectively. The proliferation of both cell lines was significantly stronger inhibited by sorafenib than by sunitinib. In LNCaP cells, sorafenib and sunitinib at the highest concentrations inhibited cell proliferation up to 46 % and 49 %, respectively, and the proliferation of PC-3 line up to 40 % and 47 %, respectively. Rottlerin reduced the viability and proliferation of PC3 cells to 81 % and 42 %, whereas the viability and proliferation of LNCaP cells were reduced to 25 % and 57 %, respectively. Sorafenib and sunitinib at low concentrations partly neutralized the inhibitory effect of rottlerin on cell viability and proliferation. On the other hand, in PC-3 cells, rottlerin reduced the inhibitory effects of sorafenib and sunitinib at the highest concentrations on cell viability from 20 % to 30 % and from 43 % to 61 %, respectively. An additive effect on cell activity was observed after treating LNCaP cells with both sunitinib at high concentrations and rottlerin. This combination increased the cytotoxic effect from 31 % to 13 % at the highest sunitinib concentration. Our results showed that monotherapy with sorafenib was the most efficient in both PCa cell lines. A marginally additive effect of rottlerin was only observed in LNCaP cells treated with sunitinib at a high concentration.  Sorafenib and sunitinib reduced cell migration in PC-3 cells to 10 % and 32 % of untreated cells, respectively. Co-treatment with sorafenib/sunitinib and rottlerin did not result in a significantly stronger anti-migratory effect than the treatment with each TKI alone. Given the strong cytotoxic effect of TKIs, especially sorafenib, on LNCaP cells, the results of the migration assay in this line were severely biased and not considered in the analysis. Unlike in other malignancies, combination therapy with TKI and rottlerin seems not beneficial in prostate cancer. More promising seems to be monotherapy with rottlerin, but further studies are needed to confirm this observation.

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Cieślikowski, W. A., Haber, T., Krajnak, S., Anic, K., Hasenburg, A., Mager, R., Thüroff, J. W., & Brenner, W. (2021). Co-administration of tyrosine kinase inhibitors with rottlerin in metastatic prostate cancer cells. EXCLI Journal, 20, 1585-1596.
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