Systemic Ablation of Camkk2 Impairs Metastatic Colonization and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in TRAMP Mice: Evidence for Cancer Cell-Extrinsic CAMKK2 Functions in Prostate Cancer

Thomas Pulliam, Dominik Awad, Jenny Han, Mollianne Murray, Jeffrey Ackroyd, Pavithr Goli, Jonathan Oakhill, Johnw Scott, Michael Ittmann, Daniel E. Frigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Despite early studies linking calcium-calmodulin protein kinase kinase 2 (CAMKK2) to prostate cancer cell migration and invasion, the role of CAMKK2 in metastasis in vivo remains unclear. Moreover, while CAMKK2 is known to regulate systemic metabolism, whether CAMKK2’s effects on whole-body metabolism would impact prostate cancer progression and/or related comorbidities is not known. Here, we demonstrate that germline ablation of Camkk2 slows, but does not stop, primary prostate tumorigenesis in the TRansgenic Adenocarcinoma Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) genetic mouse model. Consistent with prior epidemiological reports supporting a link between obesity and prostate cancer aggressiveness, TRAMP mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited a pronounced increase in the colonization of lung metastases. We demonstrated that this effect on the metastatic spread was dependent on CAMKK2. Notably, diet-induced lung metastases exhibited a highly aggressive neuroendocrine phenotype. Concurrently, Camkk2 deletion improved insulin sensitivity in the same mice. Histological analyses revealed that cancer cells were smaller in the TRAMP;Camkk2-/- mice compared to TRAMP;Camkk2+/+ controls. Given the differences in circulating insulin levels, a known regulator of cell growth, we hypothesized that systemic CAMKK2 could promote prostate cancer cell growth and disease progression in part through cancer cell-extrinsic mechanisms. Accordingly, host deletion of Camkk2 impaired the growth of syngeneic murine prostate tumors in vivo, confirming nonautonomous roles for CAMKK2 in prostate cancer. Cancer cell size and mTOR signaling was diminished in tumors propagated in Camkk2-null mice. Together, these data indicate that, in addition to cancer cell-intrinsic roles, CAMKK2 mediates prostate cancer progression via tumor-extrinsic mechanisms. Further, we propose that CAMKK2 inhibition may also help combat common metabolic comorbidities in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1890
Number of pages19
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • CAMKK2
  • High-fat diet
  • Insulin
  • Metastasis
  • MTOR
  • Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC)
  • Obesity
  • Prostate cancer

Cite this