Silencing of survivin gene by small interfering RNAs produces supra-additive growth suppression in combination with 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin in human prostate cancer cells

Francesco Paduano, Raffaella Villa, Marzia Pennati, Marco Folini, Mara Binda, Maria Grazia Daidone, Nadia Zaffaroni
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2006, 5 (1): 179-86
Survivin is an antiapoptotic gene, which is overexpressed in most human tumors and involved in mitotic checkpoint control. Recent evidence points to an essential role for heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in survivin function regulation. Although the survivin-Hsp90 association may promote tumor cell proliferation, it may also suggest new opportunities for the design of novel anticancer approaches. We evaluated the effect of small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated inhibition of survivin on the proliferative potential of prostate cancer cells and their sensitivity to the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG). Human androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines (DU145 and PC-3) were transfected with four 21-mer double-stranded siRNAs (100 nmol/L) directed against different portions of survivin mRNA. After transfection, cells were collected and analyzed for survivin mRNA and protein expression, cell proliferation rate, ability to undergo apoptosis, and sensitivity to 17-AAG. Transfection of prostate cancer cells with siRNAs induced a variable extent of inhibition of survivin mRNA expression (39-60% compared with controls), which was paralleled by a 38% to 75% reduction in survivin protein abundance. The three siRNAs able to induce the greatest inhibition of survivin expression also significantly reduced cell proliferation and enhanced the rate of apoptosis, with a concomitant increase in caspase-9 activity. Sequential treatment with siRNA and 17-AAG induced supra-additive antiproliferative effects in all cell lines, with an enhanced caspase-9-dependent apoptotic response. These findings suggest that combined strategies aimed at interfering with the survivin-Hsp90 connection may provide novel approaches for treatment of androgen-independent prostate cancer.

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