Sonic hedgehog signaling is associated with resistance to zoledronic acid in CD133high/CD44high prostate cancer stem cells

Açıkgöz E., Mukhtarova G., Alpay A., BİRAY AVCI Ç. , GÖKER BAĞCA B. , ÖKTEM G.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REPORTS, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11033-021-06387-w


Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a unique population that has been linked to drug resistance and metastasis and recurrence of prostate cancer. The sonic hedgehog (SHH) signal regulates stem cells in normal prostate epithelium by affecting cell behavior, survival, proliferation, and maintenance. Aberrant SHH pathway activation leads to an unsuitable expansion of stem cell lineages in the prostate epithelium and the transformation of prostate CSCs (PCSCs). Zoledronic acid (ZOL), one of the third-generation bisphosphonates, effectively prevented bone metastasis and treated advanced prostate cancer despite androgen deprivation therapy. Despite strong evidence for the involvement of the SHH in human PCSCs survival and drug resistance, the roles of SHH in the PCSCs-related resistance to ZOL remain to be fully elucidated. The present study aimed to investigate the role of the SHH pathway in ZOL resistance of PCSCs in 2D and three 3D cell culture conditions. For this purpose, we isolated CD133(high)/ CD44(high) PCSCs using a flow cytometer. Following ZOL treatment, mRNA and protein expressions of the components of the SHH signaling pathway in PCSCs and non-CSCs were analyzed using qRT-PCR and Immunofluorescence staining, respectively. Our finding suggested that SHH signaling may be activated by different mechanisms that lead to avoidance of the inhibition effect of ZOL. Thereby, SHH pathways may be associated with the resistance to ZOL developed by prostate CSCs. Inhibition of CSCs-related SHH signaling along with ZOL treatment should be considered to achieve improvement in survival or delayed treatment failure and prevention of the CSCs-related drug resistance.