Treatment of prostate cancer with paclitaxel (PTX) often fails due to development of chemoresistance caused by downregulation of the tumor suppressor gene miR-34a. In this study, we demonstrate that co-delivery of PTX and 2′-hydroxy-2,4,4′,5,6′-pentamethoxychalcone (termed rubone) drives upregulation of miR-34a and chemosensitizes PTX-resistant prostate cancer cells, killing both cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) and bulk tumor cells. Rubone upregulated miR-34a and reversed its downstream target genes in DU145-TXR and PC3-TXR cells. PTX and rubone combination therapy inhibited tumor cell growth, migration, and CSC population growth. We synthesized poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(2-methyl-2-carboxyl-propylene carbonate-graft-dodecanol) (PEG-PCD) to prepare micelles. The drug-loading capacities were 9.70 ± 0.10% and 5.34 ± 0.02% for PTX and rubone, respectively, controlling a drug release of 60.20 ± 2.67% and 60.62 ± 4.35% release of PTX and rubone at 24 h. Delivery of miR-34a and rubone decreased PC3-TXR cell viability with increasing PTX concentration. Co-incubation with a miR-34a inhibitor diminished the effect of rubone. PTX IC50 in PC3 and PC3-TXR cells was 55.6 and 2580 nM, respectively, but decreased to 49.8 and 93.2 nM when treated in combination with rubone, demonstrating a reversal of PTX resistance by rubone. Systemic administration of micelles carrying PTX and rubone inhibited orthotopic prostate tumor growth in nude mice, compared to monotherapy, by reversing the expression of miR-34a, SIRT1, Cyclin D1 and E-cadherin. In summary, our results showed how rubone acts as an efficient small molecule modulator of miR-34a to reverse chemoresistance and further enhance the therapeutic efficacy of PTX in PTX-resistant prostate cancer.
- Received September 2, 2016.
- Revision received April 5, 2017.
- Accepted April 12, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.