Multifocal signal modulation therapy by celecoxib: A strategy for managing castration-resistant prostate cancer

Roberto Benelli, Paola Barboro, Delfina Costa, Simonetta Astigiano, Ottavia Barbieri, Matteo Capaia, Alessandro Poggi, Nicoletta Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) is a significant health concern throughout the world. Standard therapy for advanced disease consists of anti-androgens, however, almost all prostate tumors become castration resistant (CRPC). Progression from androgen-sensitive PCa to CRPC is promoted by inflammatory signaling through cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and ErbB family receptors/AKT activation, compensating androgen receptor inactivity. Methods: Making use of CRPC cell lines, we investigated the effects of the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib. Biochemical data obtained using immunoblotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), invasion, and xenografts were further integrated by bioinformatic analyses. Results: Celecoxib reduced cell growth and induced apoptosis through AKT blockade, cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), and proteasomal degradation of the anti-apoptotic protein McL-1. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), ErbB2, and ErbB3 degradation, and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) downregulation, further amplified the inhibition of androgen signaling. Celecoxib reduced the invasive phenotype of CRPC cells by modulating NF-κB activity and reduced tumor growth in mice xenografts when administered in association with the anti-EGFR receptor antibody cetuximab. Bioinformatic analyses on human prostate cancer datasets support the relevance of these pathways in PCa progression. Conclusions: Signaling nodes at the intersection of pathways implicated in PCa progression are simultaneously modulated by celecoxib treatment. In combination therapies with cetuximab, celecoxib could represent a novel therapeutic strategy to curb signal transduction during CRPC progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6091
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Apoptosis
  • Castration-resistant prostate cancer
  • Celecoxib
  • ErbB family
  • Inflammation
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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