Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 1302–1313 | Cite as

Nur77 suppression facilitates androgen deprivation-induced cell invasion of prostate cancer cells mediated by TGF-β signaling

  • J. Wu
  • H. Sun
  • X. Yang
  • X. Sun
Research Article



Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) remains a standard treatment for advanced prostate cancers. However, recent studies revealed that while inhibiting the growth of certain types of prostate cancer cells, ADT promotes invasion. In the current study, we explored the effects of Nur77, an orphan nuclear receptor, on prostate cancer cell invasion following ADT.


Androgen receptor (AR) and Nur77 protein expression in patient tissues and cell lines were quantified via ELISA and western blot. The effects of AR-signaling on Nur77 expression were examined. The effects of Nur77 over-expression and knockdown on ADT-induced prostate cancer cell invasion were characterized.


The results showed that AR and Nur77 are both highly expressed in prostate cancers of patients. Nur77 is positively regulated by AR-signaling at transcriptional level in NCI-H660, a widely used prostate cancer cell line. AR antagonists, Casodex and MDV3100 treatment resulted in significant inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth but enhanced cancer cell invasion. Nur77 over-expression blocked invasion-promoting effect of ADT, which is consistent with the down-regulation of MMP9 and Snail protein expression. Further mechanistic investigations showed that Nur77 inhibited transcription of TGF-β target genes (Snail and MMP9), and thereby inhibits TGF-β-mediated prostate cancer cell invasion following androgen antagonism. In addition, our data suggested the nature of this inhibitory effect of Nur77 on TGF-β-signaling is selective, for Smad3-signaling, the classical effector of TGF-β-signaling, was not interrupted by Nur77 over-expression.


Considering the limited success of management of prostate cancer metastasis following ADT, our data strongly suggest that Nur77 regulation could be a promising direction for search of complementary therapeutic strategy on top of classic ADT therapy.


Prostate cancer Androgen receptor Nur77 Androgen deprivation Cancer cell invasion 



We thank the team of Urology Department of Nanjing First Hospital for the technical support in the whole research project.

Author contributions

WJ and SX designed the study, performed the experiments and drafted the manuscript. SX and SH revised the study protocol, supervised the whole project and revised the final draft. YX verified the analytical methods and made the revised draft.


This work was funded by Nanjing Medical Science and Technology Development Program (Serial No. ykk15904 to WJ).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors agreed that there is nothing to disclose for the current study.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was approved by the Ethical Committee of Nanjing First Hospital in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975.

Informed consent

Patients were provided written informed consent prior to be enrolled into the study.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 4 (TIFF 2700 kb)


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urology, Drum Tower HospitalMedical School of Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Urology, Nanjing First HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Business AnalyticsUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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