Copper signaling axis as a target for prostate cancer therapeutics.

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2014-10-15

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Abstract

Previously published reports indicate that serum copper levels are elevated in patients with prostate cancer and that increased copper uptake can be used as a means to image prostate tumors. It is unclear, however, to what extent copper is required for prostate cancer cell function as we observed only modest effects of chelation strategies on the growth of these cells in vitro. With the goal of exploiting prostate cancer cell proclivity for copper uptake, we developed a "conditional lethal" screen to identify compounds whose cytotoxic actions were manifested in a copper-dependent manner. Emerging from this screen was a series of dithiocarbamates, which, when complexed with copper, induced reactive oxygen species-dependent apoptosis of malignant, but not normal, prostate cells. One of the dithiocarbamates identified, disulfiram (DSF), is an FDA-approved drug that has previously yielded disappointing results in clinical trials in patients with recurrent prostate cancer. Similarly, in our studies, DSF alone had a minimal effect on the growth of prostate cancer tumors when propagated as xenografts. However, when DSF was coadministered with copper, a very dramatic inhibition of tumor growth in models of hormone-sensitive and of castrate-resistant disease was observed. Furthermore, we determined that prostate cancer cells express high levels of CTR1, the primary copper transporter, and additional chaperones that are required to maintain intracellular copper homeostasis. The expression levels of most of these proteins are increased further upon treatment of androgen receptor (AR)-positive prostate cancer cell lines with androgens. Not surprisingly, robust CTR1-dependent uptake of copper into prostate cancer cells was observed, an activity that was accentuated by activation of AR. Given these data linking AR to intracellular copper uptake, we believe that dithiocarbamate/copper complexes are likely to be effective for the treatment of patients with prostate cancer whose disease is resistant to classical androgen ablation therapies.

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10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3527

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Safi, R, ER Nelson, SK Chitneni, KJ Franz, DJ George, MR Zalutsky and DP McDonnell (2014). Copper signaling axis as a target for prostate cancer therapeutics. Cancer Res, 74(20). pp. 5819–5831. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3527 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9192.

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Scholars@Duke

Franz

Katherine J. Franz

Chair of the Department of Chemistry

Research in the Franz group is involved in elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems. We are particularly interested in understanding the coordination chemistry utilized by biology to manage essential yet toxic species like copper and iron. Understanding these principles further guides our development of new chemical tools to manipulate biological metal ion location, speciation, and reactivity for potential therapeutic benefit. We use a combination of synthesis, spectroscopy, and biochemistry in our work. Please visit our group website to learn more about our research.

George

Daniel James George

Eleanor Easley Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine
Zalutsky

Michael Rod Zalutsky

Jonathan Spicehandler, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Neuro Oncology, in the School of Medicine

The overall objective of our laboratory is the development of novel radioactive compounds for improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This work primarily involves radiohalo-genation of biomolecules via site-specific approaches, generally via demetallation reactions. Radionuclides utilized for imaging include I-123, I-124 and F-18, the later two being of particular interest because they can be used for the quantification of biochemical and physiological processes in the living human through positron emission tomography. For therapy, astatine-211 decays by the emission of alpha-particles, a type of radiation considerably more cytotoxic that the beta-particles used in conventional endoradiotherapy. The range of At-211 alpha particles is only a few cell diameters, offering the possibility of extremely focal irradiation of malignant cells while leaving neighboring cells intact. Highlights of recent work include: a)
development of reagents for protein and peptide radioiodination that decrease deiodination in vivo by up to 100-fold, b) demonstration that At-211 labeled monoclonal antibodies are effective in the treatment of a rat model of neoplastic meningitis, c) synthesis of a thymidine analogue labeled with At-211 and the demonstration that this molecule is taken up in cellular DNA with highly cytotoxicity even at levels of only one atom bound per cell and d) development of
radiohalobenzylguanidines which are specifically cytotoxic for human neuroblastoma cells.

McDonnell

Donald Patrick McDonnell

Glaxo-Wellcome Distinguished Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology, in the School of Medicine

Lab Website

The research in our group is focused on the development and application of mechanism based approaches to identify novel therapeutics for use in the treatment and prevention of hormonally responsive cancers. Specifically we are interested in the pharmaceutical exploitation of the estrogen and androgen receptors as therapeutic targets in breast and prostate cancers and in defining how these receptors influence the pathogenesis of these diseases. These efforts have led to the discovery of several drugs that are currently being evaluated in the clinic as cancer therapeutics, and to the identification of potential biomarkers and predictors of response that can help to target the use of these new drugs. Most recently we have explored approaches to treat triple negative breast cancer and have identified an important pathway that links obesity/dyslipidemia and cancer risk.


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