Obesity has long been linked with prostate cancer progression, although the underlying mechanism is still largely unknown. Here, we report that adipocytes promote the enrichment of prostate cancer stem cells (CSCs) through a vicious cycle of autocrine amplification. In the presence of adipocytes, prostate cancer cells actively secrete the peptide hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which not only stimulates prostate CSC self-renewal, but also induces cathepsin B (CTSB) production of the adipocytes. In return, CTSB facilitates further CCK secretion by the cancer cells. More importantly, inactivation of CCK receptor not only suppresses CTSB secretion by the adipocytes, but also synergizes the inhibitory effect of CTSB inhibitor on adipocyte-promoted prostate CSC self-renewal. In summary, we have uncovered a novel mechanism underlying the mutual interplay between adipocytes and prostate CSCs, which may help explaining the role of adipocytes in prostate cancer progression and provide opportunities for effective intervention.
- Prostate tumor-initiating cells