Autophagy inhibition improves the chemotherapeutic efficacy of cruciferous vegetable-derived diindolymethane in a murine prostate cancer xenograft model Academic Article uri icon


  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in North America and there is an urgent need for development of more effective therapeutic treatments against this disease. We have recently shown that diindolylmethane (DIM) and several of its halogenated derivatives (ring-DIMs) induce death and protective autophagy in human prostate cancer cells. However, the in vivo efficacy of ring-DIMs and the use of autophagy inhibitors as adjuvant therapy have not yet been studied in vivo. The objective of this study was to determine these effects on tumor growth in nude CD-1 mice bearing bioluminescent androgen-independent PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. We found that chloroquine (CQ) significantly sensitized PC-3 cells to death in the presence of sub-toxic concentrations of DIM or 4,4'-Br2DIM in vitro. Moreover, a combination of DIM (10 mg/kg) and CQ (60 mg/kg), 3× per week, significantly decreased PC-3 tumor growth in vivo after 3 and 4 weeks of treatment. Furthermore, 4,4'-Br2DIM at 10 mg/kg (3× per week) significantly inhibited tumour growth after 4 weeks of treatment. Tissues microarray analysis showed that DIM alone or combined with CQ induced apoptosis marker TUNEL; the combination also significantly inhibited the cell proliferation marker Ki67. In conclusion, we have confirmed that DIM and 4,4'-Br2DIM are effective agents against prostate cancer in vivo and shown that inhibition of autophagy with CQ enhances the anticancer efficacy of DIM. Our results suggest that including selective autophagy inhibitors as adjuvants may improve the efficacy of existing and novel drug therapies against prostate cancer.

altmetric score

  • 19.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Draz, H., Goldberg, A. A., Tomlinson Guns, E. S., Fazli, L., Safe, S., & Sanderson, J. T.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • August 2018