The aim of this study was to explore the efficacy of mTOR inhibitor for castrationresistant prostate cancer (CRPC) under hypoxia. Although under normoxia C4-2AT6, it is a CRPC cell line, expressed elevated pAkt, pS6 and Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) accompanied by elevated HIF-1a expression, 5% hypoxic condition further induced expression of these proteins. These results indicate hypoxic environment elevated PI3K/ Akt/mTOR pathway in aggressive prostate cancer. However, C4-2AT6 cells treated with mTOR inhibitor under hypoxia less decreased compared to cells treated with the same dose drugs under normoxia. Western blot analysis showed mTOR inhibitor: RAD001 not only inhibited pS6, but also increased the expression of PKM2 in a dose and time dependent manner. Pyruvate kinase acts on glycolysis. PKM2, which is frequently express in tumor cells, is one isoform of pyruvate kinase. PKM2 is reported to act as a transcription factor. In the present study overexpression of PKM2 in C4-2AT6 induced resistance to RAD001 under normoxia. To evaluate the therapeutic effect of targeting PKM2, we inhibited PKM2 in C4-2AT6 under hypoxia using si-PKM2. The number of C4-2AT6 under chronic hypoxia exposed to siPKM2 significantly decreased compared to intact C4-2AT6 under chronic hypoxia. Furthermore, si-PKM2 improved resistance to mTOR inhibitor in C4-2AT6. When examined using clinical samples, high PKM2 expression was correlated with a high Gleason score and poor PSA free survival. These results suggested that up-regulation of PKM2 is one possibility of resistance to mTOR inhibitor in CRPC. And it is possible that PKM2 is a useful therapeutic target of CRPC.
- PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling pathways
ASJC Scopus subject areas