Auranofin lethality to prostate cancer includes inhibition of proteasomal deubiquitinases and disrupted androgen receptor signaling

Ningning Liu, Zhiqiang Guo, Xiaohong Xia, Yuning Liao, Fangcheng Zhang, Chuyi Huang, Yuan Liu, Xiumei Deng, Lili Jiang, Xuejun Wang, Jinbao Liu, Hongbiao Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Auranofin (Aur) inhibits thioredoxin reductases and is also an inhibitor of 19S proteasome associated deubiquitinases, targeting USP14 and UCHL5. Androgen receptor is often over-expressed in prostate cancer (PCa) and is strongly linked to PCa growth and progression. Consequently, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) that reduces androgen has been applied to treat androgen receptor-mediated PCa for decades. Nevertheless, most ADT treated patients experience relapse due to the development of the castration-resistant PCa. Numerous studies have shown that down-regulation of cellular androgen receptor level, including inhibiting its transcription and promoting its protein degradation, is lethal to PCa cells. Here we report that Aur arrested cell cycle progression and induced apoptosis of PCa cells. Co-inhibition of USP14 and UCHL5 with Aur facilitated the ubiquitination and degradation of androgen receptors in LNcap and 22RV1 PCa cells. Our results also show that Aur decreases the mRNA level of androgen receptors. In conclusion, our findings suggest that Aur is a promising agent for clinical translation to treat PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
StatePublished - Mar 5 2019



  • Androgen receptor
  • Auranofin
  • Deubiquitinase inhibitor
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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