The present study has been undertaken to establish the therapeutic benefit of cotargeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and sonic hedgehog pathways by using gefitinib and cyclopamine, respectively, for improving the efficacy of the current chemotherapeutic drug docetaxel to counteract the prostate cancer progression from locally invasive to metastatic and recurrent disease stages. The data from immuofluorescence analyses revealed that EGFR/Tyr1173-pEGFR, sonic hedgehog ligand, smoothened coreceptor, and GLI-1 were colocalized with the CD133+ stem cell-like marker in a small subpopulation of prostate cancer cells. These signaling molecules were also present in the bulk tumor mass of CD133- prostate cancer cells with a luminal phenotype detected in patient's adenocarcinoma tissues. Importantly, the results revealed that the CD133+/ CD44 high/AR-/low side population (SP) cell fraction endowed with a high self-renewal potential isolated from tumorigenic and invasive WPE1-NB26 cells by the Hoechst dye technique was insensitive to the current chemotherapeutic drug, docetaxel. In contrast, the docetaxel treatment induced significant antiproliferative and apoptotic effects on the CD133 -/CD44low/AR+ non-SP cell fraction isolated from the WPE1-NB26 cell line. Of therapeutic interest, the results have also indicated that combined docetaxel, gefitinib, and cyclopamine induced greater antiproliferative and apoptotic effects on SP and non-SP cell fractions isolated from WPE1-NB26 cells than individual drugs or two-drug combinations. Altogether, these observations suggest that EGFR and sonic hedgehog cascades may represent the potential therapeutic targets of great clinical interest to eradicate the total prostate cancer cell mass and improve the current docetaxel-based therapies against locally advanced and invasive prostate cancers, and thereby prevent metastases and disease relapse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research