Activin A Stimulates AKR1C3 Expression and Growth in Human Prostate Cancer

Hans Hofland, Wytske van Weerden, J van Steenbergen, Natasja Dits, Guido Jenster, Frank Jong

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37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Local androgen synthesis in prostate cancer (PC) may contribute to the development of castration-resistant PC (CRPC), but pathways controlling intratumoral steroidogenic enzyme expression in PC are unknown. We investigated the effects of activin, a factor involved in the regulation of PC growth and steroidogenic enzyme expression in other steroidogenic tissues, on intratumoral steroidogenesis in PC. Activin A effects and regulation of the activin-signaling pathway molecules were studied in the PC cell lines LNCaP, VCaP, and PC-3 and in 13 individual PC xenograft models. Also, expression levels of inhibin beta A- and beta B-subunits (INHBA and INHBB) and of the activin antagonist follistatin were quantitated in patient PC tissues. Activin A induced the expression and enzyme activity of 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme AKR1C3 in LNCaP and VCaP cells. Inhibition of endogenous activin A action in the PC-3 cell line decreased AKR1C3 levels and consequently testosterone synthesis. In return, androgens suppressed INHBA expression in both VCaP cells and the PC xenograft models. The antiproliferative effects of activin A were opposed by physiological concentrations of androstenedione in LNCaP cells. In patient PC tissues, expression levels of INHBA were increased in CRPC samples and correlated with AKR1C3 levels. Moreover, a high ratio of activin subunits to follistatin was associated with a worse metastasis-free survival in patients. In conclusion, activin A is controlled by androgens in PC models and regulates local androgen production. Activin A thus seems to mediate (residual) intratumoral androgen levels and could form a novel therapeutic target in CRPC. (Endocrinology 153: 5726-5734, 2012)
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)5726-5734
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology
Volume153
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC MM-01-39-04
  • EMC MM-03-49-01

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