The 2,6,9-trisubstituted purine group of cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors have the potential to be clinically relevant inhibitors of cancer cell proliferation. We have recently designed and synthesized a novel dansylated analog of purvalanol B, termed VMY-1-103, that inhibited cell cycle progression in breast cancer cell lines more effectively than did purvalanol B and allowed for uptake analyses by fluorescence microscopy.
ErbB-2 plays an important role in the regulation of signal transduction cascades in a number of epithelial tumors, including prostate cancer (PCa). Our previous studies demonstrated that transgenic expression of activated ErbB-2 in the mouse prostate initiated PCa and either the overexpression of ErbB-2 or the addition of the ErbB-2/ErbB-3 ligand, heregulin (HRG), induced cell cycle progression in the androgen-responsive prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP.
In the present study, we tested the efficacy of VMY-1-103 in inhibiting HRG-induced cell proliferation in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. At concentrations as low as 1 µM, VMY-1-103 increased both the proportion of cells in G1 and p21CIP1 protein levels. At higher concentrations (5 µM or 10 µM), VMY-1-103 induced apoptosis via decreased mitochondrial membrane polarity and induction of p53 phosphorylation, caspase-3 activity and PARP cleavage. Treatment with 10 µM Purvalanol B failed to either influence proliferation or induce apoptosis.
Our results demonstrate that VMY-1-103 was more effective in inducing apoptosis in PCa cells than its parent compound, purvalanol B, and support the testing of VMY-1-103 as a potential small molecule inhibitor of prostate cancer in vivo.