Docetaxel and cabazitaxel are taxane chemotherapy treatments for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, therapeutic resistance remains a major issue. MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that can silence multiple genes, regulating several signalling pathways simultaneously. Therefore, synthetic microRNAs may have therapeutic potential in CRPC by regulating genes involved in taxane response and minimise compensatory mechanisms that cause taxane resistance. To identify microRNAs that can improve the efficacy of taxanes in CRPC, we performed a genome-wide screen of 1280 microRNAs in the CRPC cell lines PC3 and DU145 in combination with docetaxel or cabazitaxel treatment. Mimics of miR-217 and miR-181b-5p enhanced apoptosis significantly in PC3 cells in the presence of these taxanes. These mimics downregulated at least a thousand different transcripts, which were enriched for genes with cell proliferation and focal adhesion functions. Individual knockdown of a selection of 46 genes representing these transcripts resulted in toxic or taxane sensitisation effects, indicating that these genes may be mediating the effects of the microRNA mimics. A range of these genes are expressed in CRPC metastases, suggesting that these microRNA mimics may be functional in CRPC. With further development, these microRNA mimics may have therapeutic potential to improve taxane response in CRPC patients.
- cancer therapeutic resistance
- prostate cancer