Inhibitory Effect of Orally Administered 5-Aminolevulinic Acid on Prostate Carcinogenesis in the FVB-Transgenic Adenocarcinoma of a Mouse Prostate (FVB-TRAMP) Model

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Urology, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho, Kashihara city, Nara 634-8521, Japan.

2 Department of Prostate Brachytherapy, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho, Kashihara, Nara 634-8522, Japan.

3 Department of Pathology, Nara City Hospital, 1-50-1 Higashi kidera-cho, Nara city, Nara 630-8305, Japan.


Background: 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is a constituent of mitochondrial electron carriers, heme and cytochrome c, which are crucial for aerobic energy metabolism and cell apoptosis. We investigated the chemopreventive efficacy of 5-ALA against prostate cancer using the FVB-transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (FVB-TRAMP) model. Methods: Samples were collected from 24 FVB-TRAMP mice at 12 and 20 weeks of age (named the first and second sets, respectively). Sixteen mice (from the first set) were randomly allocated into 3 treatment groups: 1) control (no treatment), 2) low dose of 5-ALA (30 mg/kg/day), and 3) high dose of 5-ALA (300 mg/kg/day). Similarly, 8 mice were divided into 2 treatment groups: 1) control and 2) high dose of 5-ALA (300 mg/kg/day). 5-ALA was orally administered to mice before cancer onset, from 6 weeks of age. Results: In the control group, prostate cancer was pathologically detected in 33 and 50 % of mice at 12 and 20 weeks, respectively, while 25% of 12-week old mice in the low-dose group were affected and none of the high-dose group mice developed prostate cancer. Immunohistochemical analysis showed higher expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 4 (COX4) in the prostate gland of the high-dose group compared to the control (P = 0.018). Similarly, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using lysed prostate tissue revealed higher amounts of cytochrome c in the prostate of the high-dose group compared to the control (P = 0.021). Furthermore, western blot analysis showed higher level of cleaved caspase-3 in mice in the high-dose group diagnosed with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Conclusion: Our results suggest that oral 5-ALA may support the functional expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c and COX4, leading to caspase 3-dependent apoptosis in carcinogenesis in FVB-TRAMP mice. Future clinical studies are warranted to confirm the chemopreventive value of 5-ALA in prostate carcinogenesis. 


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