Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is currently incurable. Cancer growth and progression is intimately affected by its interaction with host microenvironment. Co-targeting of the stroma and prostate cancer is therefore an emerging therapeutic strategy for metastatic CRPC. Cancer-induced osteoclastogenesis is known to contribute to CRPC bone metastasis. This study is to extend pharmacological value of our synthesized LCC03, a derivative of 5-(2',4'-difluorophenyl)-salicylanilide that has previously testified for its osteoclastogenesis activity, by exploring its additional cytotoxic properties and underlying mechanism in CRPC cells. LCC03 was chemically synthesized and examined for cell growth inhibition in a serial of CRPC cell lines. We demonstrated that LCC03 dose-dependently suppressed proliferation and retarded cell cycle progression in CRPC cells. The classical autophagy features including autophagosomes formation and LC3-II conversation were dramatically shown in LCC03-treated CRPC cells, and it was associated with the suppressed AKT/mTOR signaling pathways, a major negative regulator of autophagy, Moreover, an expanded morphology of the ER, increased expression of the ER stress markers GRP78 and PERK, and eIF2α phosphorylation were observed. Blockage of autophagy and PERK pathways using small molecule inhibitors or shRNA knockdown reversed LCC03-induced autophagy and cell death, thus indicating that the PERK-eIF2α pathway contributed to the LCC03-induced autophagy. Furthermore, treatment of tumor-bearing mice with intraperitoneal administered LCC03 suppressed the growth of CRPC xenografts in mouse bone without systemic toxicity. The dual action of 5-(2',4'-difluorophenyl)-salicylanilide on targeting both the osteoclasts and the tumor cells strongly indicates that LCC03 is a promising anticancer candidate for preventing and treating metastatic CRPC.
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