In our previous study, we observed that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) may induce a compensatory increase in MAPK or JNK signaling. Here, we tested the effects of the MEK inhibitors PD0325901 and GSK1120212, ERK1/2 inhibitor GDC-0994, and the JNK inhibitor AS602801 alone and in combination with the AR inhibitor enzalutamide (ENZ) in androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells and androgen-resistant C4-2 and 22Rv1 cells. Enzalutamide combined with AS602801 synergistically killed LNCaP, C4-2, and 22Rv1 cells, and decreased migration and invasion of LNCaP and C4-2 cells. We studied the combination of enzalutamide with AS602801 in vivo using luciferase labeled LNCaP xenografts, and observed that combination of ENZ with AS602801 significantly suppressed tumor growth compared with either drug alone. Importantly, combination therapy resulted in dramatic loss of AR mRNA and protein. Surprisingly, mechanistic studies and Nanostring data suggest that AS602801 likely activates JNK signaling to induce apoptosis. Since AS602801 had sufficient safety and toxicity profile to advance from Phase I to Phase II in clinical trials, repurposing of this compound may represent an opportunity for rapid translation for clinical therapy of CRPC patients.
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