Introduction The use of the 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) finasteride and dutasteride for prostate cancer prevention is still under debate. The FDA recently concluded that the increased prevalence of high-grade tumors among 5-ARI-treated patients must not be neglected, and they decided to disallow the use of 5-ARIs for prostate cancer prevention. This study was conducted to verify the effects of finasteride on prostate cell migration and invasion and the related enzymes/proteins in normal human and tumoral prostatic cell lines. Materials and Methods RWPE-1, LNCaP, PC3 and DU145 cells were cultivated to 60% confluence and exposed for different periods to either 10 μM or 50 μM finasteride that was diluted in culture medium. The conditioned media were collected and concentrated, and MMP2 and MMP9 activities and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 protein expression were determined. Cell viability, migration and invasion were analyzed, and the remaining cell extracts were submitted to androgen receptor (AR) detection by western blotting techniques. Experiments were carried out in triplicate. Results Cell viability was not significantly affected by finasteride exposure. Finasteride significantly downregulated MMP2 and MMP9 activities in RWPE-1 and PC3 cells and MMP2 in DU145 cells. TIMP-2 expression in RWPE-1 cells was upregulated after exposure. The cell invasion of all four tested cell lines was inhibited by exposure to 50 μM of finasteride, and migration inhibition only occurred for RWPE-1 and LNCaP cells. AR was expressed by LNCaP, RWPE-1 and PC3 cells. Conclusions Although the debate on the higher incidence of high-grade prostate cancer among 5-ARI-treated patients remains, our findings indicate that finasteride may attenuate tumor aggressiveness and invasion, which could vary depending on the androgen responsiveness of a patient’s prostate cells.
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