Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) has antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties and is deemed as a tissue protector. However, effects of HO-1 in prostate cancer remain in controversy. We evaluated the role of HO-1 in prostate carcinoma in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of HO-1 did not affect prostate cell proliferation in the normal condition but enhanced cell proliferation under serum starvation. HO-1 overexpression enhanced cell invasion of PC-3 cells through epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) induction, which was supported by increased Slug, N-cadherin, and vimentin expressions. In the xenograft animal study, HO-1 overexpression enhanced PC-3 cell tumor growth in vivo. HO-1 attenuated reactive oxygen species induced by H2O2 or pyocyanin treatment in PC-3 and DU145 cells. HO-1 further reduced PC-3 and DU145 cell apoptosis induced by H2O2 or serum starvation. Our results suggested that HO-1 was able to increase prostate carcinoma cell invasion in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. The EMT induction and antioxidant and antiapoptotic effects of HO-1 in the prostate carcinoma cells may be responsible for these findings.
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