Nearly half of localized prostate cancer (PCa) patients given radiation therapy develop recurrence. Here, we identified glutamine as a key player in mediating the radio-sensitivity of PCa. Glutamine transporters and glutaminase are upregulated by radiation therapy of PCa cells, but respective inhibitors were ineffective in radio-sensitization. However, targeting glutamine bioavailability by L-asparaginase (L-ASP) led to a significant reduction in clonogenicity when combined with irradiation. L-ASP reduced extracellular asparagine and glutamine, but the sensitization effects were driven through its depletion of glutamine. L-ASP led to G2/M cell cycle checkpoint blockade. As evidence, there was a respective delay in DNA repair associated with RAD51 downregulation and upregulation of CHOP, contributing to radiation-induced cell death. A radio-resistant PCa cell line was developed, was found to bypass radiation-induced mitotic catastrophe, and was sensitive to L-ASP/radiation combination treatment. Previously, PCa-associated fibroblasts were reported as a glutamine source supporting tumor progression. As such, glutamine-free media were not effective in promoting radiation-induced PCa cell death when co-cultured with associated primary fibroblasts. However, the administration L-ASP catalyzed glutamine depletion with irradiated co-cultures and catalyzed tumor volume reduction in a mouse model. The clinical history of L-ASP for leukemia patients supports the viability for its repurposing as a radio-sensitizer for PCa patients.
Cancers. 2022 May 19*** epublish ***
Manish Thiruvalluvan, Sandrine Billet, Neil A Bhowmick
Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.