Artesunate Inhibits the Growth Behavior of Docetaxel-Resistant Prostate Cancer Cells

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Olesya Vakhrusheva - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Holger H H Erb - , Department of Urology, University School Dresden Pilot Project Research Unit, University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Vitus Bräunig - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Sascha D Markowitsch - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Patricia Schupp - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Patrick C Baer - , University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)
  • Kimberly Sue Slade - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Anita Thomas - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Igor Tsaur - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Martin Puhr - , Innsbruck Medical University (Author)
  • Zoran Culig - , Innsbruck Medical University (Author)
  • Jindrich Cinatl - , University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)
  • Martin Michaelis - , East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (Author)
  • Thomas Efferth - , Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Author)
  • Axel Haferkamp - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)
  • Eva Juengel - , University Medical Center Mainz (Author)


Novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed for advanced metastatic prostate cancer (PCa). Phytochemicals used in Traditional Chinese Medicine seem to exhibit tumor suppressive properties. Therefore, the therapeutic potential of artesunate (ART) on the progressive growth of therapy-sensitive (parental) and docetaxel (DX)-resistant PCa cells was investigated. Parental and DX-resistant PCa cell lines DU145, PC3, and LNCaP were incubated with artesunate (ART) [1-100 µM]. ART-untreated and 'non-cancerous' cells served as controls. Cell growth, proliferation, cell cycle progression, cell death and the expression of involved proteins were evaluated. ART, dose- and time-dependently, significantly restricted cell growth and proliferation of parental and DX-resistant PCa cells, but not of 'normal, non-cancerous' cells. ART-induced growth and proliferation inhibition was accompanied by G0/G1 phase arrest and down-regulation of cell cycle activating proteins in all DX-resistant PCa cells and parental LNCaP. In the parental and DX-resistant PC3 and LNCaP cell lines, ART also promoted apoptotic cell death. Ferroptosis was exclusively induced by ART in parental and DX-resistant DU145 cells by increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS). The anti-cancer activity displayed by ART took effect in all three PCa cell lines, but through different mechanisms of action. Thus, in advanced PCa, ART may hold promise as a complementary treatment together with conventional therapy.


Original languageEnglish
Article number789284
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in oncology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC8859178
Scopus 85125064025


Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • apoptosis, artesunate (ART), docetaxel (DX) resistance, ferroptosis, growth inhibition, prostate cancer (PCa), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Library keywords