Docetaxel-Resistance in Prostate Cancer: Evaluating Associated Phenotypic Changes and Potential for Resistance Transfer via Exosomes

Claire Corcoran, Sweta Rani, Keith O'Brien, Amanda O'Neill, Maria Prencipe, Rizwan Sheikh, Glenn Webb, Ray McDermott, William Watson, John Crown, Lorraine O'Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

310 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hormone-refractory prostate cancer remains hindered by inevitable progression of resistance to first-line treatment with docetaxel. Recent studies suggest that phenotypic changes associated with cancer may be transferred from cell-to-cell via microvesicles/exosomes. Here we aimed to investigate phenotypic changes associated with docetaxel-resistance in order to help determine the complexity of this problem and to assess the relevance of secreted exosomes in prostate cancer. Methodology/Principal Findings: Docetaxel-resistant variants of DU145 and 22Rv1 were established and characterised in terms of cross-resistance, morphology, proliferation, motility, invasion, anoikis, colony formation, exosomes secretion their and functional relevance. Preliminary analysis of exosomes from relevant serum specimens was also performed. Acquired docetaxel-resistance conferred cross-resistance to doxorubicin and induced alterations in motility, invasion, proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Exosomes expelled from DU145 and 22Rv1 docetaxel-resistant variants (DU145RD and 22Rv1RD) conferred docetaxel-resistance to DU145, 22Rv1 and LNCap cells, which may be partly due to exosomal MDR-1/P-gp transfer. Exosomes from prostate cancer patients' sera induced increased cell proliferation and invasion, compared to exosomes from age-matched controls. Furthermore, exosomes from sera of patients undergoing a course of docetaxel treatment compared to matched exosomes from the same patients prior to commencing docetaxel treatment, when applied to both DU145 and 22Rv1 cells, showed a correlation between cellular response to docetaxel and patients' response to treatment with docetaxel. Conclusions/Significance: Our studies indicate the complex and multifaceted nature of docetaxel-resistance in prostate cancer. Furthermore, our in vitro observations and preliminary clinical studies indicate that exosomes may play an important role in prostate cancer, in cell-cell communication, and thus may offer potential as vehicles containing predictive biomarkers and new therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50999
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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