BACKGROUND. Loss of contact with the extracellular matrix (ECM) triggers a specialized form of apoptosis known as "anoikis" in normal epithelial cells. Dependence on adhesion to ECM is often lost in transformed cells, and the degree of anchorage independence may vary in non-metastatic and metastatic cancer cells. BCL-2 oncoprotein overexpression correlates with the progression and metastases of prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We studied anoikis in suspension cultures of PC-3 and LNCaP prostate carcinoma cells selected for enhanced metastatic potential in vivo and in PC-3 and LNCaP cells stably transfected with BCL-2. Apoptosis-associated DNA fragmentation was measured by agarose gel electrophoresis and propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. Expression of BCL-2 family polypeptides was determined by immunoblotting. RESULTS. Non-metastatic PC-3P cells were significantly more sensitive to anoikis than the metastatic PC-3 variants (PC-3M, PC-3M-PRO-4, and PC-3M-LN-4), but anoikis resistance did not correlate with metastatic potential in LNCaP-derived cell lines. Expression of BCL-2 was higher in metastatic PC-3 and LNCaP subclones compared to isogenic non-metastatic cells, but these levels were not affected by anoikis. Enforced overexpression of BCL-2 did not protect either PC-3P or LNCaP-PRO-5 cells from anoikis, even though it rendered them resistant to thapsigargin and inhibited cytochrome c release. Strikingly, cells that died of anoikis maintained their pretreatment levels of BCL-2, whereas the cells that survived anoikis expressed much lower levels of the protein. CONCLUSIONS. Sensitivity to anoikis is regulated by BCL-2 independent mechanisms in LNCaP and PC-3 prostate cancer cells.
- Prostate cancer
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