AT-101 (R-(-)-gossypol acetic acid) enhances the effectiveness of androgen deprivation therapy in the VCaP prostate cancer model

Natalie McGregor, Lalit Patel, Matthew Craig, Savannah Weidner, Shaomeng Wang, Kenneth J. Pienta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer remains a leading cause of cancer death in American men. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the most common treatment for advanced prostate cancer patients; however, ADT fails in nearly all cases resulting in castration resistant or androgen-insensitive (AI) disease. In many cases, this progression results from dysregulation of the pro-survival Bcl-2 family proteins. Inhibition of pro-survival Bcl-2 family proteins, therefore, may be an effective strategy to delay the onset of AI disease. Gossypol, a small molecule inhibitor of pro-survival Bcl-2 family proteins, has been demonstrated to inhibit AI prostate cancer growth. The apoptotic effect of gossypol, however, has been demonstrated to be attenuated by the presence of androgen in a prostate cancer xenograft mouse model (Vertebral Cancer of Prostate [VCaP]) treated with AT-101 (R-(-)-gossypol acetic acid). This study was undertaken to better understand the in vitro effects of androgen receptor (AR) on AT-101-induced apoptosis. VCaP cells treated with AT-101 demonstrated an increase in apoptosis and downregulation of Bcl-2 prosurvival proteins. Upon AR activation in combination with AT-101 treatment, apoptosis is reduced, cell survival increases, and caspase activation is attenuated. Akt and X inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) are downregulated in the presence of AT-101, and AR stimulation rescues protein expression. Combination treatment of bicalutamide and AT-101 increases apoptosis by reducing the expression of these pro-survival proteins. These data suggest that combination therapy of AT-101 and ADT may further delay the onset of AI disease, resulting in prolonged progression-free survival of prostate cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1194
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Apoptosis
  • BCL-2
  • Gossypol
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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