CK2 is a highly conserved, ubiquitous, signal responsive protein serine/threonine kinase. CK2 promotes cell proliferation and suppresses apoptosis, and increased CK2 expression is observed in all cancers examined. We previously reported that direct injection of antisense (AS) CK2α phosphorothioate oligonucleotides (PTO) into xenograft prostate tumors in mice significantly reduced tumor size. Downregulation of CK2α in tumor cells in vivo appeared to result in overexpression of CK2α′ protein. This suggested that in cancer cells downregulation of CK2α might be compensated by CK2α′ in vivo, prompting us to design a bispecific (bs) AS PTO (bs-AS-CK2) targeting both catalytic subunits. bs-AS-CK2 reduced CK2α and α′ protein expression, decreased cell proliferation, and induced apoptosis in cultured cells. Biodistribution studies of administered bs-AS-CK2 oligonucleotide demonstrated its presence in orthotopic prostate xenograft tumors. High dose injections of bs-AS-CK2 resulted in no damage to normal liver or prostate, but induced extensive cell death in tumor tissue. Intraperitoneal treatment with bs-AS-CK2 PTO decreased orthotopic tumor size and downregulated both CK2 mRNA and protein expression. Tumor reduction was accomplished using remarkably low doses and was improved by dividing the dose using a multi-day schedule. Decreased expression of the key signaling pathway proteins NF-κB p65 and AKT was also observed. We propose that the molecular downregulation of CK2 through bispecific targeting of the two catalytic subunits may be uniquely useful for therapeutic elimination of tumors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Veterans Affairs Medical Research Merit Review Funds (KA); National Cancer Institute grant numbers UO1-CA15062 (KA) and RO1-CA150182 (KA); National Institute of Health grant number R01-DK067436 (BK).
- Prostate cancer