Androgens regulate vascular endothelial growth factor content in normal and malignant prostatic tissue

Ingrid B.J.K. Joseph, Joel B. Nelson, Samuel R. Denmeade, John T. Isaacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


In previous studies, we have demonstrated that androgen ablation- induced growth inhibition of androgen-responsive PC-82 and A-2 human prostate cancer xenografts involves not only direct activation of programmed (apoptotic) death of these cells but also indirect activation of this death process via a decrease in tumor angiogenesis secondary to a reduction in tumor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels. To determine whether androgens consistently regulate angiogenesis via control of VEGF levels, an additional human (i.e., LnCaP) and two rodent (i.e., Dunning G and H) androgen-sensitive prostate cancer sublines were tested. Androgen ablation causes a decrease in the subsequent growth rate of each of these three additional prostate cancer sublines, and this growth inhibition is consistently associated with a >60% reduction in tumor VEGF levels. To examine whether androgens regulate VEGF levels not only in malignant but also in normal prostatic tissue, male rats were castrated, and the temporal changes in the VEGF content of ventral prostate tissue were determined. One week after castration, VEGF content decreased to <20% within the ventral prostate. Subsequent replacement with exogenous androgen to long-term castrated rats stimulated an 8-fold rise in ventral prostate VEGF content within 1 week. To evaluate whether androgen regulation of VEGF is due to a direct effect of androgen on prostatic cells, the dose-response ability of androgens to increase VEGF levels in media of LnCaP cells grown in vitro was tested. These studies demonstrate that androgens directly stimulate VEGF secretion in these cells. The presence of 4-5-fold higher levels of VEGF in prostatic fluid versus seminal vesicle fluid obtained from benign prostatic hyperplasia and clinically localized prostate cancer patients suggests that elevated levels of VEGF may contribute to the progression of these prostatic conditions by promoting angiogenesis. In summary, one of the mechanisms for androgen sensitivity for the control of the growth of both normal and malignant prostatic tissue is via its stimulation of VEGF levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2507-2511
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12 I
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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