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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4101653, 13 pages
Research Article

Salinomycin Exerts Anticancer Effects on PC-3 Cells and PC-3-Derived Cancer Stem Cells In Vitro and In Vivo

1Clinical Research Institute, The Second Affiliated Hospital, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, China
2College of Nursing, Hunan Polytechnic of Environment and Biology, Hengyang 421005, China
3Department of Urology, The Second Affiliated Hospital, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, China
4Department of Urology, The First People’s Hospital of Yueyang, Yueyang 414000, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yi Wang

Received 12 January 2017; Accepted 27 March 2017; Published 6 June 2017

Academic Editor: Anne Hamburger

Copyright © 2017 Yunsheng Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Salinomycin is an antibiotic isolated from Streptomyces albus that selectively kills cancer stem cells (CSCs). However, the antitumor mechanism of salinomycin is unclear. This study investigated the chemotherapeutic efficacy of salinomycin in human prostate cancer PC-3 cells. We found that cytotoxicity of salinomycin to PC-3 cells was stronger than to nonmalignant prostate cell RWPE-1, and exposure to salinomycin induced G2/M phage arrest and apoptosis of PC-3 cells. A mechanistic study found salinomycin suppressed Wnt/β-catenin pathway to induce apoptosis of PC-3 cells. An in vivo experiment confirmed that salinomycin suppressed tumorigenesis in a NOD/SCID mice xenograft model generated from implanted PC-3 cells by inhibiting the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, since the total β-catenin protein level was reduced and the downstream target c-Myc level was significantly downregulated. We also showed that salinomycin, but not paclitaxel, triggered more apoptosis in aldehyde dehydrogenase- (ALDH-) positive PC-3 cells, which were considered as the prostate cancer stem cells, suggesting that salinomycin may be a promising chemotherapeutic to target CSCs. In conclusion, this study suggests that salinomycin reduces resistance and relapse of prostate tumor by killing cancer cells as well as CSCs.