Hang Xu, Jiapeng Zhang, Xiaonan Zheng, Ping Tan, Xingyu Xiong, Xianyanling Yi, Yang Yang, Yan Wang, Dazhou Liao, Hong Li, Qiang Wei, Jianzhong Ai, and Lu Yang
Perturbations of the circadian clock are linked to multiple diseases, including cancers. Pharmacological activation of REV-ERB nuclear receptors, the core components of the circadian clock, has antitumor effects on various malignancies, while the impact of SR9009 on prostate cancer (PCa) remains unknown. Here, we found that SR9009 was specifically lethal to PCa cell lines but had no cytotoxic effect on prostate cells. SR9009 significantly inhibited colony formation, the cell cycle, and cell migration and promoted apoptosis in PCa cells. SR9009 treatment markedly inhibited prostate cancer subtype 1 (PCS1), the most lethal and aggressive PCa subtype, through FOXM1 pathway blockade, while it had no impacts on PCS2 and PCS3. Seven representative genes, including FOXM1, CENPA, CENPF, CDK1, CCNB1, CCNB2, and BIRC5, were identified as the shared genes involved in the FOXM1 pathway and PCS1. All of these genes were upregulated in PCa tissues, associated with worse clinicopathological outcomes and downregulated after SR9009 treatment. Nevertheless, knockdown or knockout of REV-ERB could not rescue the anticancer effect of SR9009 in PCa. Further analysis confirmed that it was LXRα rather than REV-ERBs which has been activated by SR9009. The expression levels of these seven genes were changed correspondingly after LXRα knockdown and SR9009 treatment. An in vivo study validated that SR9009 restrained tumor growth in 22RV1 xenograft models and inhibited FOXM1 and its targeted gene expression. In summary, SR9009 can serve as an effective treatment option for highly aggressive and lethal PCS1 tumors through mediating the LXRα/FOXM1 pathway independently of REV-ERBs.
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