Androgen-deprivation therapy was shown to improve treatment outcome of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) for locally advanced prostate cancer (PCa). DNA damage response (DDR) was suggested to play a role in the underlying mechanism, but conflicting results were reported. This study aims to reveal the role of the androgen receptor (AR) in EBRT-induced DDR and to investigate whether next-generation AR inhibitor apalutamide can radiosensitize PCa. PCa cell lines and tissue slices were treated with anti-androgen alone or combined with EBRT. The effect of treatments on cell growth, tissue viability, DDR, and cell cycle were investigated. RAD51 and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) levels were determined byWestern blotting. Homologous recombination (HR) capacity was measured with the directed repeats-green fluorescent protein (DR-GFP) assay. We report the radiosensitizing effect of anti-androgens, which showed synergism in combination with EBRT in AR-expressing tumor slices and cell lines. Moreover, a compromised DDR was observed in AR-expressing cells upon AR suppression. We found that AR inhibition downregulated DNA-PKcs expression, resulting in reduced non-homologous end-joining repair. DDR through HR was a secondary effect due to cell-cycle change. These data provide a mechanistic explanation for the combination regimen and support the clinical use of apalutamide together with EBRT for localized PCa patients.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Zhang, W. (Wenhao), Liao, C.-Y. (Chen-Yi), Chtatou, H. (Hajar), Incrocci, L., van Gent, D., van Weerden, W., & Nonnekens, J. (2019). Apalutamide sensitizes prostate cancer to ionizing radiation via inhibition of non-homologous end-joining DNA repair. Cancers, 11(10). doi:10.3390/cancers11101593