Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-I (GnRH-I) has attracted strong attention as a hormonal therapeutic tool, particularly for androgen-dependent prostate cancer patients. However, the androgen-independency of the cancer in advanced stages has spurred researchers to look for new medical treatments. In previous reports, we developed the GnRH-II antagonist Trp-1 to inhibit proliferation and stimulate the autophagic death of various prostate cancer cells, including androgen-independent cells. We further screened many GnRH-II antagonists to identify molecules with higher efficiency. Here, we investigated the effect of SN09-2 on the growth of PC3 prostate cancer cells. SN09-2 reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells but had no effect on cells derived from other tissues. Compared with Trp-1, SN09-2 conspicuously inhibited prostate cancer cell growth, even at low concentrations. SN09-2-induced PC3 cell growth inhibition was associated with decreased membrane potential in mitochondria where the antagonist was accumulated, and increased mitochondrial and cytosolic reactive oxygen species. SN09-2 induced lactate dehydrogenase release into the media and annexin V-staining on the PC3 cell surface, suggesting that the antagonist stimulated prostate cancer cell death by activating apoptotic signaling pathways. Furthermore, cytochrome c release from mitochondria to the cytosol and caspase-3 activation occurred in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. SN09-2 also inhibited the growth of PC3 cells xenotransplanted into nude mice. These results demonstrate that SN09-2 directly induces mitochondrial dysfunction and the consequent ROS generation, leading to not only growth inhibition but also apoptosis of prostate cancer cells.
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