Androgen receptor (AR) and PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 are major survival signals that drive prostate cancer to a lethal disease. Reciprocal activation of these oncogenic pathways from negative cross talks contributes to low/limited success of pathwayselective inhibitors in curbing prostate cancer progression. We report that the antibiotic salinomycin, a cancer stem cell blocker, is a dual-acting AR and mTORC1 inhibitor, inhibiting PTEN-deficient castration-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer in culture and xenograft tumors. AR expression, its transcriptional activity, and androgen biosynthesis regulating enzymes CYP17A1, HSD3β1 were reduced by sub-micro molar salinomycin. Estrogen receptor-α expression was unchanged. Loss of phosphorylated AR at serine-81, which is an index for nuclear AR activity, preceded total AR reduction. Rapamycin enhanced the AR protein level without altering phosphoAR-Ser81 and CYP17A1. Inactivation of mTORC1, evident from reduced phosphorylation of mTOR and downstream effectors, as well as AMPK activation led to robust autophagy induction. Apoptosis increased modestly, albeit significantly, by sub-micro molar salinomycin. Enhanced stimulatory TSC2 phosphorylation at Ser-1387 by AMPK, and reduced inhibitory TSC2 phosphorylation at Ser-939/Thr-1462 catalyzed by AKT augmented TSC2/TSC1 activity, which led to mTORC1 inhibition. AMPK-mediated raptor phosphorylation further reduced mTOR's kinase function and mTORC1 activity. Our novel finding on dual inhibition of AR and mTORC1 suggests that salinomycin is potentially active as monotherapy against advanced prostate cancer.
- Androgen receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas