Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(7):1121-1134. doi:10.7150/ijbs.41686

Research Paper

Quercetin reverses docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer via androgen receptor and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways

Xinxing Lu1, Feiya Yang2, Dexi Chen3, Qinxin Zhao1, Dong Chen2, Hao Ping4, Nianzeng Xing1,2✉

1. Department of Urology, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, P.R. China
2. Department of Urology, National Cancer Center/Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Cancer Institute and Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, P.R. China
3. Beijing You'an Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, P.R. China
4. Department of Urology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China

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Citation:
Lu X, Yang F, Chen D, Zhao Q, Chen D, Ping H, Xing N. Quercetin reverses docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer via androgen receptor and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(7):1121-1134. doi:10.7150/ijbs.41686. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p1121.htm

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Abstract

Docetaxel is the first-line chemotherapy agent for metastatic prostate cancer. However, the emergence of resistance diminishes its efficacy and limits the survival benefit. Quercetin is a dietary flavonoid which has been shown to have multiple anti-cancer effects. Also, quercetin has been reported to reverse chemo-resistance in many other cancers. This study was to determine whether quercetin could reverse docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer cells and xenograft models, thereby exploring the underlying mechanism. Depending on the docetaxel-resistant cells (LNCaP/R, PC-3/R) which were established from docetaxel-sensitive cells (LNCaP, PC-3), it was demonstrated that quercetin could reverse docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer on proliferation, colony formation, migration, invasion and apoptosis. Although single docetaxel application had little effect on docetaxel-resistant cells, combining docetaxel with quercetin was significantly effective. Combination therapy could maximally inhibited PI3K/Akt pathway and promoted apoptosis. As shown by in-vivo study, xenograft tumors treated by docetaxel with quercetin had poorest growth. Then, to investigate the underlying mechanisms, the differences among parental cells, docetaxel-resistant subclones and quercetin treated resistant subclones were evaluated. It was found that docetaxel-resistant subclones had stronger activation of androgen receptor and PI3K/Akt pathway, more remarkable mesenchymal and stem-like cell phenotypes, and more P-gp expression than that of parental cells. Interestingly, quercetin could reverse these transformations. Our data revealed that quercetin had docetaxel-resistance reversal effect both in vitro and in vivo and provided in-depth support for clinical use of quercetin in docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer.

Keywords: prostate cancer, docetaxel, resistance, quercetin, androgen, PI3K, Akt, stem cell, EMT, P-gp