Androgen-induced Wnt signaling in preosteoblasts promotes the growth of MDA-PCa-2b human prostate cancer cells

Xin Hua Liu, Alexander Kirschenbaum, Shen Yao, Guizhong Liu, Stuart A. Aaronson, Alice C. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The high morbidity and mortality associated with prostate cancer (PCa) result from its tendency to metastasize to bone where it produces predominantly osteoblastic lesions. The Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role in embryogenesis, tumorigenesis, osteoblast development, and bone formation. Androgen signaling via the androgen receptor (AR) is critical in both PCa and bone cell growth. We examined the effects of androgens on cell growth and Wnt signaling in the AR-positive MDA-PCa-2b cell line and MC3T3 preosteoblasts, grown alone and in coculture. We show that the potent androgen dihydrotestosterone increases AR expression and transcriptional activity only in the preosteoblasts. Although dihydrotestosterone induced an 80% increase in PCa cell growth when the cells were grown alone, dihydrotestosterone had a more significant effect on MDA-PCa-2b cell proliferation (3.2-fold increase) when the PCa cells were cocultured with preosteoblasts. Dihydrotestosterone addition to preosteoblasts promoted Wnt-dependent transcriptional reporter activity associated with GSK3βS-9 phosphorylation and accumulation of nuclear β-catenin as well as elevated Runx2 expression. In addition, the increased proliferation of PCa cells in coculture with MC3T3 cells in response to dihydrotestosterone was abrogated by the addition of either exogenous DKK-1 or sFRP-1 protein, two naturally occurring Wnt antagonists. Finally, we show that the paracrine growth-promoting effect of androgens is limited to MDA-PCa-2b cells. These data imply that Wnt signaling is involved in the androgen-regulated crosstalk between preosteoblasts and PCa cells and suggest that androgens may stimulate growth of some prostate tumor cells indirectly, via up-regulation of Wnt signaling in bone cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5747-5753
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2007


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