Inhibition of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) overcomes enzalutamide resistance in castration-resistant prostate cancer

Yunfeng Bai, Zhuangzhuang Zhang, Lijun Cheng, Ruixin Wang, Xiaoliang Chen, Yifan Kong, Feng Feng, Nihal Ahmad, Lang Li, Xiaoqi Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Enzalutamide, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2018 for the management of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), is an androgen receptor (AR) inhibitor. It blocks androgen binding to the AR, AR nuclear translocation, and AR-mediated DNA binding. Unfortunately, a considerable proportion of tumors eventually develop resistance during the treatment. The molecular mechanisms underlying enzalutamide resistance are not completely understood. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressor complex 2, has been proposed as a prognostic marker for prostate cancer (PCa). With the goal to test whether EZH2 also plays a critical role in acquisition of enzalutamide resistance in CRPC, here we examined whether EZH2 inhibition/depletion enhances the efficacy of enzalutamide in enzalutamide-resistant PCa cells. We show that combining the EZH2 inhibitor GSK126 with enzalutamide synergistically inhibits cell proliferation and colony formation and promotes apoptosis in enzalutamide-resistant PCa cells. EZH2 depletion also overcomes enzalutamide resistance in both cultured cells and xenograft tumors. Mechanistically, we found that EZH2 directly binds to the promoter of prostate-specific antigen and inhibits its expression in enzalutamide-resistant PCa cells. In agreement, bioinformatics analysis of clinical RNA sequencing data involving GSEA indicated a strong correlation betweenARand EZH2 gene expression during PCa progression. Our study provides critical insights into the mechanisms underlying enzalutamide resistance, which may offer new approaches to enhance the efficacy of enzalutamide in CRPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9911-9923
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Lin et al. Published under exclusive license by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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