Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in males and the second highest cause of cancer-related mortality. We identified an RNA helicase gene, DDX3 (DDX3X), which is overexpressed in prostate cancers, and whose expression is directly correlated with high Gleason scores. Knockdown of DDX3 in the aggressive prostate cancer cell lines DU145 and 22Rv1 resulted in significantly reduced clonogenicity. To target DDX3, we rationally designed a small molecule, RK-33, which docks into the ATP-binding domain of DDX3. Functional studies indicated that RK-33 preferentially bound to DDX3 and perturbed its activity. RK-33 treatment of prostate cancer cell lines DU145, 22Rv1, and LNCaP (which have high DDX3 levels) decreased proliferation and induced a G1 phase cell-cycle arrest. Conversely, the low DDX3-expressing cell line, PC3, exhibited few changes following RK-33 treatment. Importantly, combination studies using RK-33 and radiation exhibited synergistic effects both in vitro and in a xenograft model of prostate cancer demonstrating the role of RK-33 as a radiosensitizer. Taken together, these results indicate that blocking DDX3 by RK-33 in combination with radiation treatment is a viable option for treating locally advanced prostate cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research