Chronic administration of valproic acid inhibits prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo

Qinghua Xia, Jennifer Sung, Wasim Chowdhury, Chien Lun Chen, Naseruddin Höti, Shabana Shabbeer, Michael Carducci, Ronald Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Valproic acid (VPA) is an established drug in the long-term therapy of seizure disorders. Recently, VPA has been associated with anticancer activity, an effect thought to be mediated through the inhibition of cellular histone deacetylase 1. We investigated the effect of various doses of VPA (0, 1.2, and 5.0 mmol/L) administered either acutely or chronically on histone acetylation, p21 gene expression, androgen receptor expression, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) expression, and cell survival and proliferation in prostate cancer cell lines. We also studied the effect of chronic VPA on tumor xenograft growth in vivo. Our results show that acute treatment (3 days) VPA can increase net histone H3 acetylation and up-regulate p21, AR, and cytosolic PSA expression. Interestingly, the effects on AR and PSA are reversed with chronic teatment. In addition, acute VPA reduces cell survival but has no effect on the subsequent proliferation of surviving cells following drug withdrawal. However, when VPA is chronically administered (10-14 days) to prostate cancer cells, even lower doses of VPA result in marked decreases in the net proliferation rate, correlating with increased caspase-2 and caspase-3 activation. These effects are evident in both androgen receptor-positive (LNCaP and C4-2) and androgen receptor-negative (DU145 and PCS) prostate cancer cells. Moreover, chronic VPA treatment results in statistically significant reduction of tumor xenograft growth in vivo. We conclude that acute treatment has nominal effects on prostate cancer cell survival and proliferation, but chronic VPA results in profound decreases in proliferation, independently of androgen regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7237-7244
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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