Lysosomotropic acid ceramidase inhibitor induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells

David H. Holman, Lorianne S. Turner, Ahmed El-Zawahry, Saeed Elojeimy, Xiang Liu, Jacek Bielawski, Zdzislaw M. Szulc, Kristi Norris, Youssef H. Zeidan, Yusuf A. Hannun, Alicja Bielawska, James S. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Purpose: Alterations in ceramide metabolism have been reported in prostate cancer (PCa), resulting in escape of cancer cells from ceramide-induced apoptosis. Specifically, increased expression of lysosomal acid ceramidase (AC) has been shown in some primary PCa tissues and in several PCa cell lines. To determine if this represents a novel therapeutic target, we designed and synthesized LCL204, a lysosomotropic analog of B13, a previously reported inhibitor of AC Methods: Prostate cancer cell lines were treated with LCL204 for varying times and concentrations. Effects of treatment on cytotoxicity, sphingolipid content, and apoptotic markers were assessed. Results: Treatment of DU145 PCa cells resulted in increased ceramide and decreased sphingosine levels. Interestingly, LCL204 caused degradation of AC in a cathepsin-dependent manner. We also observed rapid destabilization of lysosomes and the release of lysosomal proteases into the cytosol following treatment with LCL204. Combined, these events resulted in mitochondria depolarization and executioner caspase activation, ultimately ending in apoptosis Conclusions: These results provide evidence that treatment with molecules such as LCL204, which restore ceramide levels in PCa cells may serve as a new viable treatment option for PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Chemotherapy And Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid ceramidase inhibitors
  • Apoptosis
  • B13
  • Ceramide
  • LCL204
  • Lysosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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