Prostate cancer stem-like cells (PCSCs) are not only enriched in the CD44+PSA-/lo subpopulation but also employ androgen-independent signaling mechanisms for survival. CD44+ PCSCs defy androgen deprivation, resist chemo-and radiotherapy and are highly tumorigenic. Human prostate tissue microarray (TMA) staining revealed an increased membranous staining of CD44 in the luminal compartment in higher grade G7-G9 tumors versus staining of the basal layer in benign hyperplasia. To uncover tyrosine kinase/s critical for the survival of the CD44+PSA-/lo subpopulation, we performed an unbiased screen targeting 87 tyrosine kinases with gene specific siRNAs. Among a subset of tyrosine kinases crucial for PCSC survival, was a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, ACK1/TNK2, a critical regulator of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) growth. Consistently, activated ACK1 as measured by phosphorylation at Tyr284 was significant in the CD44+PSA-/lo population. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition by ACK1 inhibitor, (R)-9bMS mitigated CD44+PSA-/lo sphere formation, overcame resistance to radiation-induced cell death, induced significant apoptosis in PCSCs and inhibited CD44+PSA-/lo xenograft tumor growth in castrated mice suggesting dependency of PCSCs on ACK1 for survival. Thus, blockade of ACK1/TNK2 could be a new therapeutic modality to target recalcitrant PCSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1954
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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