Survival of docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer cells in vitro depends on phenotype alterations and continuity of drug exposure
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We evaluated in vitro the effect of paclitaxel and docetaxel on PC-3 and DU-145 prostate cancer cell lines to understand better the downstream events in drug-induced tumor cell death. Taxane treatments of DU-145 cells induced rapid cell death by apoptosis, but in PC-3 cells, treatments achieved growth arrest, followed by extensive karyokinesis resulting in multinucleation, giant-cell formation and delayed cell death. To determine if the giant multinucleated cells were able to produce proliferating and drug-resistant survivors, we first delineated the kinetics of drug activity and cytotoxic dose range. Analysis of both lines by colorimetric and cell viability assays demonstrated improved cytotoxicity of taxanes applied continuously. Selected doses and schedules of docetaxel were used to induce giant multinucleated cells that gave rise to docetaxel-resistant survivors, which remained sensitive to paclitaxel and other chemotherapeutics. Growth and morphology of the recovered clones was similar to parental cells. The resistant phenotype of these clones determined by immunofluorescence and immunoblot was associated with transient expression of the β-tubulin IV isoform and was independent of P-glycoprotein, bcl-2 and bcl-xL. Resistant clones will be useful to model progression of resistance to taxanes and to identify unknown and clinically important molecular mechanisms of cell death and resistance.
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