Monensin is a potent inducer of oxidative stress and inhibitor of androgen signalling leading to apoptosis in prostate cancer cells

Kirsi Ketola, Paula Vainio, Vidal Fey, Olli Kallioniemi, Kristiina Iljin (Corresponding Author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)


    Current treatment options for advanced and hormone refractory prostate cancer are limited and responses to commonly used androgen pathway inhibitors are often unsatisfactory. Our recent results indicated that sodium ionophore monensin is one of the most potent and cancer-specific inhibitors in a systematic sensitivity testing of most known drugs and drug-like molecules in a panel of prostate cancer cell models. Because monensin has been extensively used in veterinary applications to build muscle mass in cattle, the link to prostate cancer and androgen signaling was particularly interesting. Here, we showed that monensin effects at nanomolar concentrations are linked to induction of apoptosis and potent reduction of androgen receptor mRNA and protein in prostate cancer cells. Monensin also elevated intracellular oxidative stress in prostate cancer cells as evidenced by increased generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species and by induction of a transcriptional profile characteristic of an oxidative stress response. Importantly, the antiproliferative effects of monensin were potentiated by combinatorial treatment with the antiandrogens and antagonized by antioxidant vitamin C. Taken together, our results suggest monensin as a potential well-tolerated, in vivo compatible drug with strong proapoptotic effects in prostate cancer cells, and synergistic effects with antiandrogens. Moreover, our data suggest a general strategy by which the effects of antiandrogens could be enhanced by combinatorial administration with agents that increase oxidative stress in prostate cancer cells.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3175-3185
    Number of pages11
    JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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