Melatonin and prostate cancer cell proliferation: Interplay with castration, epidermal growth factor, and androgen sensitivity




Potential modulatory effects of melatonin on the proliferation of androgen-sensitive LNCaP and androgen-insensitive PC-3 and DU 145 prostate cancer cells were reported recently. In this study, we investigated the effects of combined melatonin and castration on LNCaP tumor growth in vivo, the interactions between melatonin and epidermal growth factor (EGF) on LNCaP cell proliferation, and melatonin actions on the proliferation of PC-3 and DU 145 cells.


Tumor development and growth in castrated nude mice inoculated with LNCaP cells or in intact animals inoculated with DU 145 cells, with or without daily melatonin treatment, were monitored by observation and caliper measurement. MT1 receptor expression in native or transfected prostate cancer cell lines was examined by immunocytochemistry or 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding. Cyclin D1 expression in LNCaP cells was assessed by Western blotting, and cell proliferation was measured by thymidine incorporation and/or cell count.


Melatonin treatment was associated with further decreases in LNCaP tumor incidence and growth rate in castrated nude mice. Melatonin and 2-iodomelatonin (a melatonin receptor agonist) attenuated EGF-stimulated increases in LNCaP cell proliferation and cyclin D1 levels. Melatonin had no effect on the proliferation or growth of MT1 receptor-expressing DU 145 cells, and of PC-3 cells in which MT1 receptor protein was undetectable. The proliferation of transfected PC-3 cells expressing MT1 receptor was unaffected by 2-iodomelatonin.


Together with previous data, the present results indicate synergistic action of melatonin and castration in inhibiting the growth of androgen-sensitive LNCaP tumor. Androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cell proliferation may be modulated by opposite changes in cyclin D1 levels induced by activated MT1 and EGF receptors. In androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells, MT1 receptor-mediated signal transduction may become defective not only through changes in membrane receptor protein expression and/or functions, but also by means of alterations in downstream postreceptor signaling events. Prostate 52:106–122, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.