Vijayalakshmi Thamilselvan, Mani Menon, Sivagnanam ThamilselvanVattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, USAAbstract: Apoptosis is one of the major mechanisms targeted in the development of therapies against various cancers, including prostate cancer. Resistance to chemotherapy poses a significant problem for the effective treatment of androgen-independent (hormone-refractory) prostate cancer. Although high concentrations of sodium selenite exert strong anticarcinogenic effects in several cell culture systems and animal models, the therapeutic potential of selenite in patients with advanced or metastatic prostate cancer is extremely limited by the genotoxicity of high-dose selenite. We examined the ability of nontoxic concentrations of selenite to promote apoptosis and inhibit proliferation in carmustine-sensitized androgen-independent human prostate cancer cells. Androgen-dependent LNCaP cells exhibited a significant decrease in cell viability when exposed to nontoxic concentrations of selenite, whereas androgen-independent PC-3 and DU145 cells showed a significant decrease in cell viability only at higher concentrations. Treatment of PC-3 cells with a combination of nontoxic selenite and carmustine resulted in greater increases in cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species generation, growth inhibition, apoptosis, and DNA double-strand breaks, with concomitant decreases in DNA synthesis, glutathione, glutathione reductase, and antiapoptotic proteins. Combination treatment with carmustine and selenite triggered caspase-dependent apoptosis in PC-3 cells, which was not apparent when these cells were treated with selenite or carmustine alone. Genotoxicity in normal prostate epithelial cells was completely absent in the combination treatment of carmustine and selenite. In addition, carmustine decreased the induction of DNA double strand breaks by high-dose selenite in normal prostate epithelial cells. This is the first study to demonstrate that a nontoxic dose of selenite, in combination with carmustine, significantly induces apoptosis and growth inhibition in androgen-independent prostate cancer cells without causing undesirable genotoxicity in normal prostate epithelial cells, suggesting that this combination therapy may be a promising therapeutic approach in the treatment of patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.Keywords: apoptosis, glutathione, glutathione reductase, oxidative stress, DNA damage, genotoxicity, combination therap
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