Neuroendocrine prostate cancer is a lethal variant of prostate cancer that is associated with castrate-resistant growth, metastasis, and mortality. The tumor environment of neuroendocrine prostate cancer is heterogeneous and characterized by hypoxia, necrosis, and numerous mitoses. Although acidic extracellular pH has been implicated in aggressive cancer features including metastasis and therapeutic resistance, its role in neuroendocrine prostate cancer physiology and metabolism has not yet been explored. We used the well-characterized PNEC cell line as a model to establish the effects of extracellular pH (pH 6.5, 7.4, and 8.5) on neuroendocrine prostate cancer cell metabolism. We discovered that alkalinization of extracellular pH converted cellular metabolism to a nutrient consumption-dependent state that was susceptible to glucose deprivation, glutamine deprivation, and 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) mediated inhibition of glycolysis. Conversely, acidic pH shifted cellular metabolism toward an oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)-dependent state that was susceptible to OXPHOS inhibition. Based upon this mechanistic knowledge of pH-dependent metabolism, we identified that the FDA-approved anti-helminthic niclosamide depolarized mitochondrial potential and depleted ATP levels in PNEC cells whose effects were enhanced in acidic pH. To further establish relevance of these findings, we tested the effects of extracellular pH on susceptibility to nutrient deprivation and OXPHOS inhibition in a cohort of castrate-resistant prostate cancer cell lines C4-2B, PC-3, and PC-3M. We discovered similar pH-dependent toxicity profiles among all cell lines with these treatments. These findings underscore a potential importance to acidic extracellular pH in the modulation of cell metabolism in tumors and development of an emerging paradigm that exploits the synergy of environment and therapeutic efficacy in cancer.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by a grant from the Radiological Society of North America (RSD1345; http://www.rsna.org), a Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (http://www.pcf. org), and NIH grants P41-GM103422, P30-DK056341, and P30-DK020579. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
© 2016 Ippolito et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.