Troglitazone is a ligand for the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) that decreases growth of human prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanism by which troglitazone reduces prostate cancer cell growth is not fully understood. To understand the signaling pathways involved in troglitazone-induced decreases in prostate cancer growth, we examined the effect of troglitazone on androgen-independent C4-2 human prostate cancer cells. Initial experiments revealed troglitazone inhibited C4-2 cell proliferation by arresting cells in the G(0)/G(1) phase of the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. Since the proto-oncogene product c-Myc regulates both apoptosis and cell cycle progression, we next examined whether troglitazone altered expression of c-Myc. Troglitazone decreased c-Myc protein levels as well as expression of downstream targets of c-Myc in a dose-dependent manner. In C4-2 cells, troglitazone-induced decreases in c-Myc protein involve proteasome-mediated degradation of c-Myc protein as well as reductions in c-Myc mRNA levels. It appears that troglitazone stimulates degradation of c-Myc by increasing c-Myc phosphorylation, for the level of phosphorylated c-Myc was elevated in prostate cancer cells exposed to troglitazone. While troglitazone dramatically decreased the amount of c-Myc within C4-2 cells, the PPARγ ligands ciglitazone, rosiglitazone and pioglitazone did not reduce c-Myc protein levels. Furthermore the down-regulation of c-Myc by troglitazone was not blocked by the PPARγ antagonist GW9662 and siRNA-mediated decreases in PPARγ protein. Thus, our data suggest that troglitazone reduces c-Myc protein independently of PPARγ.