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Expression of Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 (GSK-3) is elevated in prostate cancer and its inhibition reduces prostate cancer cell proliferation, in part by reducing androgen receptor (AR) signaling. However, GSK-3 inhibition can also activate signals that promote cell proliferation and survival, which may preclude the use of GSK-3 inhibitors in the clinic. To identify such signals in prostate cancer, we screened for changes in transcription factor target DNA binding activity in GSK-3-silenced cells. Among the alterations was a reduction in AR DNA target binding, as predicted from previous studies, and an increase in NFκB DNA target binding. Consistent with the latter, gene silencing of GSK-3 or inhibition using the GSK-3 inhibitor CHIR99021 increased basal NFκB transcriptional activity. Activation of NFκB was accompanied by an increase in the level of the NFκB family member RelB. Conversely, silencing RelB reduced activation of NFκB by CHIR99021. Furthermore, the reduction of prostate cancer cell proliferation by CHIR99021 was potentiated by inhibition of NFκB signaling using the IKK inhibitor PS1145. Finally, stratification of human prostate tumor gene expression data for GSK3 revealed an inverse correlation between NFκB-dependent and androgen-dependent gene expression, consistent with the results from the transcription factor target DNA binding screen. In addition, there was a correlation between expression of androgen-repressed NFκB target genes and reduced survival of patients with metastatic prostate cancer. These findings highlight an association between GSK-3/AR and NFκB signaling and its potential clinical importance in metastatic prostate cancer.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





8173 - 8187


Antineoplastic Agents, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Gene Regulatory Networks, Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3, Humans, Male, Molecular Targeted Therapy, NF-kappa B, Prostatic Neoplasms, Protein Kinase Inhibitors, RNA Interference, Receptors, Androgen, Signal Transduction, Transcription, Genetic, Transfection