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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Molecular targeting of prostate cancer cells by a triple drug combination down-regulates integrin driven adhesion processes, delays cell cycle progression and interferes with the cdk-cyclin axis

Steffen Wedel1, Lukasz Hudak1, Jens-Michael Seibel1, Jasmina Makarević1, Eva Juengel1, Igor Tsaur1, Ana Waaga-Gasser2, Axel Haferkamp1 and Roman A Blaheta1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Goethe-University; Frankfurt am Main; Germany

2 Department of Surgery I, Molecular Oncology and Immunology, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg; Germany

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:375  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-375

Published: 25 August 2011



Single drug use has not achieved satisfactory results in the treatment of prostate cancer, despite application of increasingly widespread targeted therapeutics. In the present study, the combined impact of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-inhibitor RAD001, the dual EGFr and VGEFr tyrosine kinase inhibitor AEE788 and the histone deacetylase (HDAC)-inhibitor valproic acid (VPA) on prostate cancer growth and adhesion in vitro was investigated.


PC-3, DU-145 and LNCaP cells were treated with RAD001, AEE788 or VPA or with a RAD-AEE-VPA combination. Tumor cell growth, cell cycle progression and cell cycle regulating proteins were then investigated by MTT-assay, flow cytometry and western blotting, respectively. Furthermore, tumor cell adhesion to vascular endothelium or to immobilized extracellular matrix proteins as well as migratory properties of the cells was evaluated, and integrin α and β subtypes were analyzed. Finally, effects of drug treatment on cell signaling pathways were determined.


All drugs, separately applied, reduced tumor cell adhesion, migration and growth. A much stronger anti-cancer effect was evoked by the triple drug combination. Particularly, cdk1, 2 and 4 and cyclin B were reduced, whereas p27 was elevated. In addition, simultaneous application of RAD001, AEE788 and VPA altered the membranous, cytoplasmic and gene expression pattern of various integrin α and β subtypes, reduced integrin-linked kinase (ILK) and deactivated focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Signaling analysis revealed that EGFr and the downstream target Akt, as well as p70S6k was distinctly modified in the presence of the drug combination.


Simultaneous targeting of several key proteins in prostate cancer cells provides an advantage over targeting a single pathway. Since strong anti-tumor properties became evident with respect to cell growth and adhesion dynamics, the triple drug combination might provide progress in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.