NK Cells Can Preferentially Target Prostate Cancer Stem-like Cells via the TRAIL/DR5 Signaling Pathway


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Background: The occurrence of androgen-dependent prostate cancer mainly depends on prostate cancer stem cells. To reduce the risk of androgen-dependent prostate cancer, the direct elimination of prostate cancer stem cells is important, but an elimination strategy has not yet been established. A previous study showed that natural killer (NK) cells can preferentially target cancer stem cells in several solid tumors except prostate cancer. In this context, this study was undertaken to investigate if NK cells can selectively attack androgen-dependent prostate cancer stem cells. Methods: Prostate cancer stem-like cells were separated from an androgen-dependent prostate cancer cell line (LNCaP) using a three-dimensional culture system. LNCaP stem-like cells or LNCaP cells were co-cultured with human NK cells (KHYG-1) for 24-72 h, and cell viability was determined using the WST-8 method. The expression of each protein in the cell membrane was evaluated through FACS analysis, and mRNA levels were determined using real-time PCR. Results: KHYG-1 cells had more potent cytotoxicity against LNCaP stem-like cells than LNCaP cells, and the potency of the cytotoxicity was strongly related to the TRAIL/DR5 cell death pathway. Conclusion: NK cells can preferentially target prostate cancer stem-like cells via the TRAIL/DR5 pathway.
androgen-dependent prostate cancer, stem cells, NK cells, cytotoxicity, TRAIL/DR5 signal pathway
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