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Keywords:

  • androgen receptor;
  • CCL2;
  • epithelial–mesenchymal transition;
  • prostate cancer;
  • STAT3

Increased CCL2 expression in prostate cancer (PCa) cells enhanced metastasis via macrophage recruitment. However, its linkage to androgen receptor (AR)-mediated PCa progression remains unclear. Here, we identified a previously unrecognized regulation: targeting AR with siRNA in PCa cells increased macrophage recruitment via CCL2 up-regulation, which might then result in enhancing PCa invasiveness. Molecular mechanism dissection revealed that targeting PCa AR with siRNA promoted PCa cell migration/invasion via CCL2-dependent STAT3 activation and epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathways. Importantly, pharmacologic interruption of the CCL2/CCR2-STAT3 axis suppressed EMT and PCa cell migration, providing a new mechanism linking CCL2 and EMT. Simultaneously targeting PCa AR with siRNA and the CCL2/CCR2-STAT3 axis resulted in better suppression of PCa growth and metastasis in a xenograft PCa mouse model. Human PCa tissue microarray analysis suggests that increased CCL2 expression may be potentially associated with poor prognosis of PCa patients. Together, these results may provide a novel therapeutic approach to better battle PCa progression and metastasis at the castration resistant stage via the combination of targeting AR with siRNA and anti-CCL2/CCR2-STAT3 signalling.