Gene Summary

Gene:AKR1C3; aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3
Aliases: DD3, DDX, PGFS, HAKRB, HAKRe, HA1753, HSD17B5, hluPGFS
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the aldo/keto reductase superfamily, which consists of more than 40 known enzymes and proteins. These enzymes catalyze the conversion of aldehydes and ketones to their corresponding alcohols by utilizing NADH and/or NADPH as cofactors. The enzymes display overlapping but distinct substrate specificity. This enzyme catalyzes the reduction of prostaglandin (PG) D2, PGH2 and phenanthrenequinone (PQ), and the oxidation of 9alpha,11beta-PGF2 to PGD2. It may play an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases such as asthma, and may also have a role in controlling cell growth and/or differentiation. This gene shares high sequence identity with three other gene members and is clustered with those three genes at chromosome 10p15-p14. Three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Washington
  • 20-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Messenger RNA
  • Enzymologic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Racemases and Epimerases
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases
  • Virilism
  • Gene Expression
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Testosterone
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Stem Cells
  • Tobacco
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Genotype
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Tumor Burden
  • Drug Resistance
  • Quality of Life
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Transcription
  • p53 Protein
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Breast Cancer
  • Chromosome 10
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Aldehyde Reductase
  • Aldo-Keto Reductase Family 1 Member C3
  • Androgens
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Risk Factors
  • Disease Progression
  • Transcription Factors
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AKR1C3 (cancer-related)

Huebbers CU, Verhees F, Poluschkin L, et al.
Upregulation of AKR1C1 and AKR1C3 expression in OPSCC with integrated HPV16 and HPV-negative tumors is an indicator of poor prognosis.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(10):2465-2477 [PubMed] Related Publications
Different studies have shown that HPV16-positive OPSCC can be subdivided based on integration status (integrated, episomal and mixed forms). Because we showed that integration neither affects the levels of viral genes, nor those of virally disrupted human genes, a genome-wide screen was performed to identify human genes which expression is influenced by viral integration and have clinical relevance. Thirty-three fresh-frozen HPV-16 positive OPSCC samples with known integration status were analyzed by mRNA expression profiling. Among the genes of interest, Aldo-keto-reductases 1C1 and 1C3 (AKR1C1, AKR1C3) were upregulated in tumors with viral integration. Additionally, 141 OPSCC, including 48 HPV-positive cases, were used to validate protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Results were correlated with clinical and histopathological data. Non-hierarchical clustering resulted in two main groups differing in mRNA expression patterns, which interestingly corresponded with viral integration status. In OPSCC with integrated viral DNA, often metabolic pathways were deregulated with frequent upregulation of AKR1C1 and AKR1C3 transcripts. Survival analysis of 141 additionally immunostained OPSCC showed unfavorable survival rates for tumors with upregulation of AKR1C1 or AKR1C3 (both p <0.0001), both in HPV-positive (p ≤0.001) and -negative (p ≤0.017) tumors. OPSCC with integrated HPV16 show upregulation of AKR1C1 and AKR1C3 expression, which strongly correlates with poor survival rates. Also in HPV-negative tumors, upregulation of these proteins correlates with unfavorable outcome. Deregulated AKR1C expression has also been observed in other tumors, making these genes promising candidates to indicate prognosis. In addition, the availability of inhibitors of these gene products may be utilized for drug treatment.

Novotná E, Büküm N, Hofman J, et al.
Roscovitine and purvalanol A effectively reverse anthracycline resistance mediated by the activity of aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3): A promising therapeutic target for cancer treatment.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2018; 156:22-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Members of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) and aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamilies mediate the reduction of anthracyclines to their less potent C-13 alcohol metabolites. This reductive metabolism has been recognized as one of the most important factors that trigger anthracycline resistance in cancer cells. In our study, two purine analogues, purvalanol A and roscovitine, were identified as effective inhibitors of aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3), an enzyme that is overexpressed in many cancer types and is also a key player in tumour cell resistance to anthracyclines. Purvalanol A and roscovitine potently inhibited human recombinant AKR1C3 (Ki = 5.5 μM and 1.4 μM, respectively) and displayed similar activity in experiments with intact cells. Ligand-protein docking calculations suggested that both inhibitors occupied a part of the cofactor-binding site. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the combination of daunorubicin with purvalanol A or roscovitine exhibited a synergistic effect in AKR1C3 overexpressing cells. Based on these findings, it is possible to presume that purvalanol A and roscovitine may have the potential to enhance the therapeutic effectiveness and safety of anthracyclines via inhibition of AKR1C3.

Karunasinghe N, Ambs S, Wang A, et al.
Influence of lifestyle and genetic variants in the aldo-keto reductase 1C3 rs12529 polymorphism in high-risk prostate cancer detection variability assessed between US and New Zealand cohorts.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(6):e0199122 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) based prostate cancer (PC) screening is currently being debated. The current assessment is to understand the variability of detecting high-risk PC in a NZ cohort in comparison to a US cohort with better PSA screening facilities. Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) is known for multiple functions with a potential to regulate subsequent PSA levels. Therefore, we wish to understand the influence of tobacco smoking and the AKR1C3 rs12529 gene polymorphism in this variability.
METHOD: NZ cohort (n = 376) consisted of 94% Caucasians while the US cohort consisted of African Americans (AA), n = 202, and European Americans (EA), n = 232. PSA level, PC grade and stage at diagnosis were collected from hospital databases for assigning high-risk PC status. Tobacco smoking status and the AKR1C3 rs12529 SNP genotype were considered as confounding variables. Variation of the cumulative % high-risk PC (outcome variable) with increasing PSA intervals (exposure factor) was compared between the cohorts using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Comparisons were carried out with and without stratifications made using confounding variables.
RESULTS: NZ cohort has been diagnosed at a significantly higher mean age (66.67± (8.08) y) compared to both AA (62.65±8.17y) and EA (64.83+8.56y); median PSA (NZ 8.90ng/ml compared to AA 6.86ng/ml and EA 5.80ng/ml); and Gleason sum (NZ (7) compared EA (6)) (p<0.05). The cumulative % high-risk PC detection shows NZ cohort with a significantly lower diagnosis rates at PSA levels between >6 - <10ng/ml compared to both US groups (p<0.05). These were further compounded significantly by smoking status and genetics.
CONCLUSIONS: High-risk PCs recorded at higher PSA levels in NZ could be due to factors including lower levels of PSA screening and subsequent specialist referrals for biopsies. These consequences could be pronounced among NZ ever smokers carrying the AKR1C3 rs12529 G alleles making them a group that requires increased PSA screening attention.

Bortolozzi R, Bresolin S, Rampazzo E, et al.
AKR1C enzymes sustain therapy resistance in paediatric T-ALL.
Br J Cancer. 2018; 118(7):985-994 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Despite chemotherapy intensification, a subgroup of high-risk paediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) patients still experience treatment failure. In this context, we hypothesised that therapy resistance in T-ALL might involve aldo-keto reductase 1C (AKR1C) enzymes as previously reported for solid tumors.
METHODS: Expression of NRF2-AKR1C signaling components has been analysed in paediatric T-ALL samples endowed with different treatment outcomes as well as in patient-derived xenografts of T-ALL. The effects of AKR1C enzyme modulation has been investigated in T-ALL cell lines and primary cultures by combining AKR1C inhibition, overexpression, and gene silencing approaches.
RESULTS: We show that T-ALL cells overexpress AKR1C1-3 enzymes in therapy-resistant patients. We report that AKR1C1-3 enzymes play a role in the response to vincristine (VCR) treatment, also ex vivo in patient-derived xenografts. Moreover, we demonstrate that the modulation of AKR1C1-3 levels is sufficient to sensitise T-ALL cells to VCR. Finally, we show that T-ALL chemotherapeutics induce overactivation of AKR1C enzymes independent of therapy resistance, thus establishing a potential resistance loop during T-ALL combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Here, we demonstrate that expression and activity of AKR1C enzymes correlate with response to chemotherapeutics in T-ALL, posing AKR1C1-3 as potential targets for combination treatments during T-ALL therapy.

Sheng X, Parmentier JH, Tucci J, et al.
Adipocytes Sequester and Metabolize the Chemotherapeutic Daunorubicin.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(12):1704-1713 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Obesity is associated with poorer outcome for many cancers. Previously, we observed that adipocytes protect acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells from the anthracycline, daunorubicin. In this study, it is determined whether adipocytes clear daunorubicin from the tumor microenvironment (TME). Intracellular daunorubicin concentrations were evaluated using fluorescence. Daunorubicin and its largely inactive metabolite, daunorubicinol, were analytically measured in media, cells, and tissues using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Expression of daunorubicin-metabolizing enzymes, aldo-keto reductases (AKR1A1, AKR1B1, AKR1C1, AKR1C2, AKR1C3, and AKR7A2) and carbonyl reductases (CBR1, CBR3), in human adipose tissue, were queried using public databases and directly measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and immunoblot. Adipose tissue AKR activity was measured by colorimetric assay. Adipocytes absorbed and efficiently metabolized daunorubicin to daunorubicinol, reducing its antileukemia effect in the local microenvironment. Murine studies confirmed adipose tissue conversion of daunorubicin to daunorubicinol

Heerma van Voss MR, van Diest PJ, Raman V
Targeting RNA helicases in cancer: The translation trap.
Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2017; 1868(2):510-520 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer cells are reliant on the cellular translational machinery for both global elevation of protein synthesis and the translation of specific mRNAs that promote tumor cell survival. Targeting translational control in cancer is therefore increasingly recognized as a promising therapeutic strategy. In this regard, DEAD/H box RNA helicases are a very interesting group of proteins, with several family members regulating mRNA translation in cancer cells. In this review, we delineate the mechanisms by which DEAD/H box proteins modulate oncogenic translation and how inhibition of these RNA helicases can be exploited for anti-cancer therapeutics.

Migita T, Takayama KI, Urano T, et al.
ACSL3 promotes intratumoral steroidogenesis in prostate cancer cells.
Cancer Sci. 2017; 108(10):2011-2021 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Long-chain acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) synthetase 3 (ACSL3) is an androgen-responsive gene involved in the generation of fatty acyl-CoA esters. ACSL3 is expressed in both androgen-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, its role in prostate cancer remains elusive. We overexpressed ACSL3 in androgen-dependent LNCaP cells and examined the downstream effectors of ACSL3. Furthermore, we examined the role of ACSL3 in the androgen metabolism of prostate cancer. ACSL3 overexpression led to upregulation of several genes such as aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) involved in steroidogenesis, which utilizes adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) as substrate, and downregulated androgen-inactivating enzyme UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 2 (UGT2B). Exposure to DHEAS significantly increased testosterone levels and cell proliferative response in ACSL3-overexpressing cells when compared to that in control cells. A public database showed that ACSL3 level was higher in CRPC than in hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. CRPC cells showed an increased expression of ACSL3 and an expression pattern of AKR1C3 and UGT2B similar to ACSL3-overexpressing cells. DHEAS stimulation significantly promoted the proliferation of CRPC cells when compared to that of LNCaP cells. These findings suggest that ACSL3 contributes to the growth of CRPC through intratumoral steroidogenesis (i.e. promoting androgen synthesis from DHEAS and preventing the catabolism of active androgens).

Zhao Q, Kun D, Hong B, et al.
Identification of Novel Proteins Interacting with Vascular Endothelial Growth Inhibitor 174 in Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(8):4379-4388 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGI) is a multipotential cytokine that plays a role in regulating immunity, anti-angiogenesis, and inhibiting tumor growth. However, the proteins that interact with it are still unknown. In the present study, we examined the proteins that interact with VEGI174 and their expression in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The proteins that interact with VEGI174 were identified using western blot, pull-down assay, and mass spectrometry. The expressions of VEGI174 and the interacting proteins were examined in RCC and were compared to normal renal tissues using immunohistochemical staining and RNA-seq respectively.
RESULTS: The results of the mass spectrometric analysis showed that ACLY, ENO1, ZIK1, AKR1C3, and MYC may interact with VEGI174. When compared to the TCGA database, the expression level of VEGI174 in RCC was lower than that in normal kidney using RNAseq (p<0.001). The expression levels of ACLY, ENO1, ZIK1, AKR1C3 and MYC in RCC were higher than those in normal kidney (p<0.05, all of above factors). Moreover, immunochemical staining results also showed that the expression levels of AKR1C3 in RCC were significantly higher those that in normal kidney (p<0.001) and was also positively correlated with higher RCC stage and grade.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, our findings showed that VEGI174 may interact with ACLY, ENO1, ZIK1, AKR1C3, and MYC. The expression of ACLY, ENO1, AKR1C3 and MYC is increased in RCC. AKR1C3 was a new factor that may correlate with the progression of RCC. The results indicated that VEGI174 has more functions than we currently know in the development and progression of RCC.

Sausville LN, Jones CC, Aldrich MC, et al.
Genetic variation in the eicosanoid pathway is associated with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(7):e0180471 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Globally, lung cancer results in more deaths worldwide than any other cancer, indicating a need for better treatments. Members of the eicosanoid metabolism pathway represent promising therapeutic targets, as several enzymes involved in the generation of these lipids are dysregulated in many cancers and their inhibition reduces lung cancer growth in mouse models. However, genetic variation of enzymes involved in eicosanoid metabolism has not been adequately examined for association with lung cancer. The goal of this study was to determine whether germline genetic variation altering eicosanoid producing enzyme function and/or expression are associated with differences in lung cancer survival. We examined the association of genetic variation with mortality within eicosanoid metabolism genes in 395 non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases from the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS). A total of 108 SNPs, both common and rare, in 19 genes, were examined for association. No common or rare variants were associated with lung cancer survival across the entire study population. However, rare variants in ALOX15B (arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase, type B) and the common variant rs12529 in AKR1C3 (prostaglandin F synthase) were associated with NSCLC mortality in women and African Americans, respectively. Rare variants in ALOX15B were associated with greater mortality in women (HR = 2.10, 95% CI = 1.25-3.54, p-value = 0.005). The major allele of rs12529 in AKCR1C3 associated with improved survival in African Americans (HR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.59-0.92, p-value = 0.008). The lack of genetic associations among all NSCLC cases and the association among women only for rare variants in ALOX15B may, in part, explain the better NSCLC survival observed among women. These results raise the possibility that some subgroups within the NSCLC population may benefit from drugs targeting eicosanoid metabolism.

Xu D, Aka JA, Wang R, Lin SX
17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 5 is negatively correlated to apoptosis inhibitor GRP78 and tumor-secreted protein PGK1, and modulates breast cancer cell viability and proliferation.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017; 171:270-280 [PubMed] Related Publications
17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 5 (17β-HSD5) is an important enzyme associated with sex steroid metabolism in hormone-dependent cancer. However, reports on its expression and its prognostic value in breast cancer are inconsistent. Here, we demonstrate the impact of 17β-HSD5 expression modulation on the proteome of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells. RNA interference technique (siRNA) was used to knock down 17β-HSD5 gene expression in the ER+ breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and the proteome of the 17β-HSD5-knockdown cells was compared to that of MCF-7 cells using two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis followed by mass spectrometry analysis. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) was additionally used to assess functional enrichment analyses of the proteomic dataset, including protein network and canonical pathways. Our proteomic analysis revealed only four differentially expressed protein spots (fold change > 2, p<0.05) between the two cell lines. The four spots were up-regulated in 17β-HSD5-knockdown MCF-7 cells, and comprised 21 proteins involved in two networks and in functions that include apoptosis inhibition, regulation of cell growth and differentiation, signal transduction and tumor metastasis. Among the proteins are nucleoside diphosphate kinase A (NME1), 78kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) and phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1). We also showed that expression of 17β-HSD5 and that of the apoptosis inhibitor GRP78 are strongly but negatively correlated. Consistent with their opposite regulation, GRP78 knockdown decreased MCF-7 cell viability whereas 17β-HSD5 knockdown or inhibition increased cell viability and proliferation. Besides, IPA analysis revealed that ubiquitination pathway is significantly affected by 17β-HSD5 knockdown. Furthermore, IPA predicted the proto-oncogene c-Myc as an upstream regulator linked to the tumor-secreted protein PGK1. The latter is over-expressed in invasive ductal breast carcinoma as compared with normal breast tissue and its expression increased following 17β-HSD5 knockdown. Our present results indicate a 17β-HSD5 role in down-regulating breast cancer development. We thus propose that 17β-HSD5 may not be a potent target for breast cancer treatment but its low expression could represent a poor prognosis factor.

Karunasinghe N, Masters J, Flanagan JU, Ferguson LR
Influence of Aldo-keto Reductase 1C3 in Prostate Cancer - A Mini Review.
Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2017; 17(7):603-616 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) is an important oxidoreductase with multiple substrates, that are involved in producing extra-testicular androgens. Its activity is influenced by environmental exposures, as well as by genetic variants. These genetic variants could therefore produce variable testosterone levels and subsequent androgen receptor (AR) activation. This could lead to differential downstream production of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). As PSA level is used for clinical evaluation of the prostate, these variations could impact prostate cancer (PC) diagnosis, as well as PC management outcomes. This review brings together information with regards to key functions of this enzyme, its relevance in PC, its transcriptional regulation, clinical aspects associated with genetics, differential regulation in cancer and cancer progression, and the types of AKR1C3 inhibitors with future therapeutic value.
CONCLUSION: Based on these discussions, hypotheses are forwarded for future applicability of this enzyme and its genetic variants in transformational medical practices in PC. Options for the use of personalised AKR1C3 inhibitor drugs for late stage PC are also discussed.

Shiiba M, Yamagami H, Yamamoto A, et al.
Mefenamic acid enhances anticancer drug sensitivity via inhibition of aldo-keto reductase 1C enzyme activity.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 37(4):2025-2032 [PubMed] Related Publications
Resistance to anticancer medications often leads to poor outcomes. The present study explored an effective approach for enhancing chemotherapy targeted against human cancer cells. Real-time quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed overexpression of members of aldo-keto reductase (AKR) 1C family, AKR1C1, AKR1C2, AKR1C3, and AKR1C4, in cisplatin, cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (II) (CDDP)-resistant human cancer cell lines, HeLa (cervical cancer cells) and Sa3 (oral squamous cell carcinoma cells). The genes were downregulated using small-interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection, and the sensitivity to CDDP or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) was investigated. When the genes were knocked down, sensitivity to CDDP and 5-FU was restored. Furthermore, we found that administration of mefenamic acid, a widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a known inhibitor of AKR1Cs, enhanced sensitivity to CDDP and 5-FU. The present study suggests that AKR1C family is closely associated with drug resistance to CDDP and 5-FU, and mefenamic acid enhances their sensitivity through its inhibitory activity in drug-resistant human cancer cells. Thus, the use of mefenamic acid to control biological function of AKR1C may lead to effective clinical outcomes by overcoming anticancer drug resistance.

Chewchuk S, Guo B, Parissenti AM
Alterations in estrogen signalling pathways upon acquisition of anthracycline resistance in breast tumor cells.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(2):e0172244 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intrinsic or acquired drug resistance is a major impediment to the successful treatment of women with breast cancer using chemotherapy. We have observed that MCF-7 breast tumor cells selected for resistance to doxorubicin or epirubicin (MCF-7DOX2 and MCF-7EPI cells, respectively) exhibited increased expression of several members of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) gene family (in particular AKR1C3 and AKR1B10) relative to control MCF-7CC cells selected by propagation in the absence of drug. Normal cellular roles for the AKRs include the promotion of estrogen (E2) synthesis from estrone (E1) and the hydroxylation and detoxification of exogenous xenobiotics such as anthracycline chemotherapy drugs. While hydroxylation of anthracyclines strongly attenuates their cytotoxicity, it is unclear whether the enhanced AKR expression in the above anthracycline-resistant cells promotes E2 synthesis and/or alterations in E2 signalling pathways and whether such changes contribute to enhanced survival and anthracycline resistance. To determine the role of AKRs and E2 pathways in doxorubicin resistance, we examined changes in the expression of E2-related genes and proteins upon acquisition of doxorubicin resistance. We also assessed the effects of AKR overexpression or downregulation or the effects of activators or inhibitors of E2-dependent pathways on previously acquired resistance to doxorubicin. In this study we observed that the enhanced AKR expression upon acquisition of anthracycline resistance was, in fact, associated with enhanced E2 production. However, the expression of estrogen receptor α (ERα) was reduced by 2- to 5-fold at the gene transcript level and 2- to 20-fold at the protein level upon acquisition of anthracycline resistance. This was accompanied by an even stronger reduction in ERα phosphorylation and activity, including highly suppressed expression of two proteins under E2-dependent control (Bcl-2 and cyclin D1). The diminished Bcl-2 and cyclin D1 expression would be expected to reduce the growth rate of the cells, a hypothesis which was confirmed in subsequent cell proliferation experiments. AKR1C3 or AKR1B10 overexpression alone had no effect on doxorubicin sensitivity in MCF-7CC cells, while siRNA-mediated knockdown of AKR1C3 and/or AKR1B10 expression had no significant effect on sensitivity to doxorubicin in MCF-7DOX2 or MCF-7EPI cells. This suggested that enhanced or reduced AKR expression/activity is insufficient to confer anthracycline resistance or sensitivity to breast tumor cells, respectively. Rather, it would appear that AKR overexpression acts in concert with other proteins to confer anthracycline resistance, including reduced E2-dependent expression of both an important apoptosis inhibitor (Bcl-2) and a key protein associated with activation of cell cycle-dependent kinases (cyclin D1).

Kawaguchi Y, Mizuno H, Horikawa M, et al.
Virilism and Ectopic Expression of HSD17B5 in Mature Cystic Teratoma.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2017; 241(2):125-129 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mature cystic teratoma (MCT) is rarely involved in the overproduction of steroid hormones in contrast to sex cord stromal tumors. A 31-year-old woman visited our hospital with hirsutism, hoarseness, and hair loss from the scalp. Serum testosterone and free-testosterone levels were 7.3 ng/ml and 2.3 pg/ml, respectively, which were markedly in excess of the age adjusted female standard levels. Basal blood levels of steroid hormones and serum levels of 17-hydroxyprogesterone at 1 h after intravenous injection of adrenocorticotropic hormone demonstrated that 21-hydroxylase deficiency was not the underlying cause of her virilization. A subsequent chromosomal test with G-banding revealed a karyotype of 46XX. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a mass in the left ovary, which was subsequently diagnosed as MCT. Detailed pathological analysis of the tumor indicated that it was comprised of skin components, sweat glands, with hair and fat texture, glandular epithelium and fibrous connective tissue, consistent with the characteristic composition of MCT. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated marked immunoreactivity of 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD17B5), an enzyme that can convert androstenedione to testosterone. Following surgical removal of the tumor, testosterone and free testosterone levels were markedly decreased (0.3 ng/ml and 0.4 pg/ml, respectively) and other symptoms abated. In conclusion, this is the first report of an ovarian MCT associated with clinical virilization caused by the ectopic production of testosterone possibly because of an overexpression of intratumoral HSD17B5.

Djusberg E, Jernberg E, Thysell E, et al.
High levels of the AR-V7 Splice Variant and Co-Amplification of the Golgi Protein Coding YIPF6 in AR Amplified Prostate Cancer Bone Metastases.
Prostate. 2017; 77(6):625-638 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The relation between androgen receptor (AR) gene amplification and other mechanisms behind castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), such as expression of constitutively active AR variants and steroid-converting enzymes has been poorly examined. Specific aim was to examine AR amplification in PC bone metastases and to explore molecular and functional consequences of this, with the long-term goal of identifying novel molecular targets for treatment.
METHODS: Gene amplification was assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization in cryo-sections of clinical PC bone metastases (n = 40) and by PCR-based copy number variation analysis. Whole genome mRNA expression was analyzed using H12 Illumina Beadchip arrays and specific transcript levels were quantified by qRT-PCR. Protein localization was analyzed using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. The YIPF6 mRNA expression was transiently knocked down and stably overexpressed in the 22Rv1 cell line as representative for CRPC, and effects on cell proliferation, colony formation, migration, and invasion were determined in vitro. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) were isolated from cell cultures using size-exclusion chromatography and enumerated by nanoparticle tracking analysis. Protein content was identified by LC-MS/MS analysis. Blood coagulation was measured as activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT). Functional enrichment analysis was performed using the MetaCore software.
RESULTS: AR amplification was detected in 16 (53%) of the bone metastases examined from CRPC patients (n = 30), and in none from the untreated patients (n = 10). Metastases with AR amplification showed high AR and AR-V7 mRNA levels, increased nuclear AR immunostaining, and co-amplification of genes such as YIPF6 in the AR proximity at Xq12. The YIPF6 protein was localized to the Golgi apparatus. YIPF6 overexpression in 22Rv1 cells resulted in reduced cell proliferation and colony formation, and in enhanced EV secretion. EVs from YIPF6 overproducing 22Rv1 cells were enriched for proteins involved in blood coagulation and, accordingly, decreased the APTT in a dose-dependent fashion.
CONCLUSIONS: AR amplified CRPC bone metastases show high AR-V7 expression that probably gives resistance to AR-targeting drugs. Co-amplification of the Golgi protein coding YIPF6 gene with the AR may enhance the secretion of pro-coagulative EVs from cancer cells and thereby stimulate tumor progression and increase the coagulopathy risk in CRPC patients. Prostate 77: 625-638, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Liu C, Armstrong CM, Lou W, et al.
Inhibition of AKR1C3 Activation Overcomes Resistance to Abiraterone in Advanced Prostate Cancer.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2017; 16(1):35-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Abiraterone suppresses intracrine androgen synthesis via inhibition of CYP17A1. However, clinical evidence suggests that androgen synthesis is not fully inhibited by abiraterone and the sustained androgen production may lead to disease relapse. In the present study, we identified AKR1C3, an important enzyme in the steroidogenesis pathway, as a critical mechanism driving resistance to abiraterone through increasing intracrine androgen synthesis and enhancing androgen signaling. We found that overexpression of AKR1C3 confers resistance to abiraterone while downregulation of AKR1C3 resensitizes resistant cells to abiraterone treatment. In abiraterone-resistant prostate cancer cells, AKR1C3 is overexpressed and the levels of intracrine androgens are elevated. In addition, AKR1C3 activation increases intracrine androgen synthesis and enhances androgen receptor (AR) signaling via activating AR transcriptional activity. Treatment of abiraterone-resistant cells with indomethacin, an AKR1C3 inhibitor, overcomes resistance and enhances abiraterone therapy both in vitro and in vivo by reducing the levels of intracrine androgens and diminishing AR transcriptional activity. These results demonstrate that AKR1C3 activation is a critical mechanism of resistance to abiraterone through increasing intracrine androgen synthesis and enhancing androgen signaling. Furthermore, this study provides a preclinical proof-of-principle for clinical trials investigating the combination of targeting AKR1C3 using indomethacin with abiraterone for advanced prostate cancer. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(1); 35-44. ©2016 AACR.

Hertz DL, Kidwell KM, Seewald NJ, et al.
Polymorphisms in drug-metabolizing enzymes and steady-state exemestane concentration in postmenopausal patients with breast cancer.
Pharmacogenomics J. 2017; 17(6):521-527 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Discovery of clinical and genetic predictors of exemestane pharmacokinetics was attempted in 246 postmenopausal patients with breast cancer enrolled on a prospective clinical study. A sample was collected 2 h after exemestane dosing at a 1- or 3-month study visit to measure drug concentration. The primary hypothesis was that patients carrying the low-activity CYP3A4*22 (rs35599367) single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) would have greater exemestane concentration. Additional SNPs in genes relevant to exemestane metabolism (CYP1A1/2, CYP1B1, CYP3A4, CYP4A11, AKR1C3/4, AKR7A2) were screened in secondary analyses and adjusted for clinical covariates. CYP3A4*22 was associated with a 54% greater exemestane concentration (P<0.01). Concentration was greater in patients who reported White race, had elevated aminotransferases, renal insufficiency, lower body mass index and had not received chemotherapy (all P<0.05), and CYP3A4*22 maintained significance after adjustment for covariates (P<0.01). These genetic and clinical predictors of exemestane concentration may be useful for treatment individualization in patients with breast cancer.

Karunasinghe N, Zhu Y, Han DY, et al.
Quality of life effects of androgen deprivation therapy in a prostate cancer cohort in New Zealand: can we minimize effects using a stratification based on the aldo-keto reductase family 1, member C3 rs12529 gene polymorphism?
BMC Urol. 2016; 16(1):48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is an effective palliation treatment in men with advanced prostate cancer (PC). However, ADT has well documented side effects that could alter the patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The current study aims to test whether a genetic stratification could provide better knowledge for optimising ADT options to minimize HRQoL effects.
METHODS: A cohort of 206 PC survivors (75 treated with and 131 without ADT) was recruited with written consent to collect patient characteristics, clinical data and HRQoL data related to PC management. The primary outcomes were the percentage scores under each HRQoL subscale assessed using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaires (QLQ-C30 and PR25) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales developed by the University of Melbourne, Australia. Genotyping of these men was carried out for the aldo-keto reductase family 1, member C3 (AKR1C3) rs12529 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Analysis of HRQoL scores were carried out against ADT duration and in association with the AKR1C3 rs12529 SNP using the generalised linear model. P-values <0 · 05 were considered significant, and were further tested for restriction with Bonferroni correction.
RESULTS: Increase in hormone treatment-related effects were recorded with long-term ADT compared to no ADT. The C and G allele frequencies of the AKR1C3rs12529 SNP were 53·4 % and 46·6 % respectively. Hormone treatment-related symptoms showed an increase with ADT when associated with the AKR1C3 rs12529 G allele. Meanwhile, decreasing trends on cancer-specific symptoms and increased sexual interest were recorded with no ADT when associated with the AKR1C3 rs12529 G allele and reverse trends with the C allele. As higher incidence of cancer-specific symptoms relate to cancer retention it is possible that associated with the C allele there could be higher incidence of unresolved cancers under no ADT options.
CONCLUSIONS: If these findings can be reproduced in larger homogeneous cohorts, a genetic stratification based on the AKR1C3 rs12529 SNP, can minimize ADT-related HRQoL effects in PC patients. Our data additionally show that with this stratification it could also be possible to identify men needing ADT for better oncological advantage.

Mowday AM, Ashoorzadeh A, Williams EM, et al.
Rational design of an AKR1C3-resistant analog of PR-104 for enzyme-prodrug therapy.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2016; 116:176-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
The clinical stage anti-cancer agent PR-104 has potential utility as a cytotoxic prodrug for exogenous bacterial nitroreductases expressed from replicating vector platforms. However substrate selectivity is compromised due to metabolism by the human one- and two-electron oxidoreductases cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) and aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3). Using rational drug design we developed a novel mono-nitro analog of PR-104A that is essentially free of this off-target activity in vitro and in vivo. Unlike PR-104A, there was no biologically relevant cytotoxicity in cells engineered to express AKR1C3 or POR, under aerobic or anoxic conditions, respectively. We screened this inert prodrug analog, SN34507, against a type I bacterial nitroreductase library and identified E. coli NfsA as an efficient bioactivator using a DNA damage response assay and recombinant enzyme kinetics. Expression of E. coli NfsA in human colorectal cancer cells led to selective cytotoxicity to SN34507 that was associated with cell cycle arrest and generated a robust 'bystander effect' at tissue-like cell densities when only 3% of cells were NfsA positive. Anti-tumor activity of SN35539, the phosphate pre-prodrug of SN34507, was established in 'mixed' tumors harboring a minority of NfsA-positive cells and demonstrated marked tumor control following heterogeneous suicide gene expression. These experiments demonstrate that off-target metabolism of PR-104 can be avoided and identify the suicide gene/prodrug partnership of E. coli NfsA/SN35539 as a promising combination for development in armed vectors.

Udhane SS, Dick B, Hu Q, et al.
Specificity of anti-prostate cancer CYP17A1 inhibitors on androgen biosynthesis.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016; 477(4):1005-1010 [PubMed] Related Publications
The orteronel, abiraterone and galeterone, which were developed to treat castration resistant prostate cancer, inhibit 17,20 lyase activity but little is known about their effects on adrenal androgen biosynthesis. We studied the effect of several inhibitors and found that orteronel was selective towards 17,20 lyase activity than abiraterone and galeterone. Gene expression analysis showed that galeterone altered the expression of HSD3B2 but orteronel did not change the expression of HSD3B2, CYP17A1 and AKR1C3. The CYP19A1 activity was not inhibited except by compound IV which lowered activity by 23%. Surprisingly abiraterone caused complete blockade of CYP21A2 activity. Analysis of steroid metabolome by gas chromatography - mass spectrometry revealed changes in steroid levels caused by different inhibitors. We can conclude that orteronel is a highly specific inhibitor of 17,20 lyase activity. The discovery of these specific drug actions on steroidogenic enzyme activities would be valuable for understanding the regulation of androgens.

Tiryakioglu NO, Tunali NE
Association of AKR1C3 Polymorphisms with Bladder Cancer.
Urol J. 2016; 13(2):2615-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Polymorphisms in the genes coding for the carcinogen metabolizing enzymes may affect enzyme activities and alter the activation and detoxification rates of the carcinogens. AKR1C3 is one of the very polymorphic xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation process. Here we aimed to investigate the association of two single nucleotide polymorphisms in AKR1C3, rs12529 (c.15C > G) and rs1937920 (12259 bp 3' of STP A > G) with urinary bladder cancer (UBC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two-hundred fifty UBC cases and 250 control subjects were genotyped using the Polymerase Chain Reaction and Restriction Fragment Length method. Associations of the genotypes with UBC risk and tumor characteristics were assessed using logistic regression and Fisher's exact test. The results are corrected for multiple testing.
RESULTS: We identified strong associations between the studied AKR1C3 variants and UBC risk. The homozygous variant genotype of rs12529 was found to be inversely associated with UBC, and rs1937920 was shown to be associated with increased risk of UBC. None of the genotypes were found to be significantly associated with tumor characteristics.
CONCLUSION: We provided evidence that rs12529 and rs1937920 are significant in the molecular pathogenesis of UBC. However, the results presented here should be regarded as preliminary and might represent a first step of future larger studies aiming to better elucidate the role of AKR1C3 polymorphisms in the susceptibility to bladder cancer.

Frycz BA, Murawa D, Borejsza-Wysocki M, et al.
Transcript level of AKR1C3 is down-regulated in gastric cancer.
Biochem Cell Biol. 2016; 94(2):138-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Steroid hormones have been shown to play a role in gastric carcinogenesis. Large amounts of steroid hormones are locally produced in the peripheral tissues of both genders. Type 5 of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, encoded by the AKR1C3 gene, plays a pivotal role in both androgen and estrogen metabolism, and its expression was found to be deregulated in different cancers. In this study we measured AKR1C3 transcript and protein levels in nontumoral and primary tumoral gastric tissues, and evaluated their association with some clinicopathological features of gastric cancer (GC). We found decreased levels of AKR1C3 transcript (p < 0.0001) and protein (p = 0.0021) in GC tissues compared with the adjacent, apparently histopathologically normal, mucosa. Lower levels of AKR1C3 transcript were observed in diffuse and intestinal types of GC, whereas AKR1C3 protein levels were decreased in tumors with multisite localization, in diffuse histological type, T3, T4, and G3 grades. We also determined the effect of the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium butyrate (NaBu) on AKR1C3 expression in EPG 85-257 and HGC-27 GC cell lines. We found that NaBu elevates the levels of both AKR1C3 transcript and protein in the cell lines we investigated. Together, our results suggest that decreased expression of AKR1C3 may be involved in development of GC and can be restored by NaBu.

Erzinger MM, Bovet C, Hecht KM, et al.
Sulforaphane Preconditioning Sensitizes Human Colon Cancer Cells towards the Bioreductive Anticancer Prodrug PR-104A.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150219 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The chemoprotective properties of sulforaphane (SF), derived from cruciferous vegetables, are widely acknowledged to arise from its potent induction of xenobiotic-metabolizing and antioxidant enzymes. However, much less is known about the impact of SF on the efficacy of cancer therapy through the modulation of drug-metabolizing enzymes. To identify proteins modulated by a low concentration of SF, we treated HT29 colon cancer cells with 2.5 μM SF. Protein abundance changes were detected by stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture. Among 18 proteins found to be significantly up-regulated, aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3), bioactivating the DNA cross-linking prodrug PR-104A, was further characterized. Preconditioning HT29 cells with SF reduced the EC50 of PR-104A 3.6-fold. The increase in PR-104A cytotoxicity was linked to AKR1C3 abundance and activity, both induced by SF in a dose-dependent manner. This effect was reproducible in a second colon cancer cell line, SW620, but not in other colon cancer cell lines where AKR1C3 abundance and activity were absent or barely detectable and could not be induced by SF. Interestingly, SF had no significant influence on PR-104A cytotoxicity in non-cancerous, immortalized human colonic epithelial cell lines expressing either low or high levels of AKR1C3. In conclusion, the enhanced response of PR-104A after preconditioning with SF was apparent only in cancer cells provided that AKR1C3 is expressed, while its expression in non-cancerous cells did not elicit such a response. Therefore, a subset of cancers may be susceptible to combined food-derived component and prodrug treatments with no harm to normal tissues.

Fujisawa Y, Sakaguchi K, Ono H, et al.
Combined steroidogenic characters of fetal adrenal and Leydig cells in childhood adrenocortical carcinoma.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016; 159:86-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although childhood adrenocortical carcinomas (c-ACCs) with a TP53 mutation are known to produce androgens, detailed steroidogenic characters have not been clarified. Here, we examined steroid metabolite profiles and expression patterns of steroidogenic genes in a c-ACC removed from the left adrenal position of a 2-year-old Brazilian boy with precocious puberty, using an atrophic left adrenal gland removed at the time of tumorectomy as a control. The c-ACC produced not only abundant dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate but also a large amount of testosterone via the Δ5 pathway with Δ5-androstenediol rather than Δ4-androstenedione as the primary intermediate metabolite. Furthermore, the c-ACC was associated with elevated expressions of CYP11A1, CYP17A1, POR, HSD17B3, and SULT2A1, a low but similar expression of CYB5A, and reduced expressions of AKR1C3 (HSD17B5) and HSD3B2. Notably, a Leydig cell marker INSL3 was expressed at a low but detectable level in the c-ACC. Furthermore, molecular studies revealed a maternally inherited heterozygous germline TP53 mutation, and several post-zygotic genetic aberrations in the c-ACC including loss of paternally derived chromosome 17 with a wildtype TP53 and loss of maternally inherited chromosome 11 and resultant marked hyperexpression of paternally expressed growth promoting gene IGF2 and drastic hypoexpression of maternally expressed growth suppressing gene CDKN1C. These results imply the presence of combined steroidogenic properties of fetal adrenal and Leydig cells in this patient's c-ACC with a germline TP53 mutation and several postzygotic carcinogenic events.

Ferret Y, Caillault A, Sebda S, et al.
Multi-loci diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics analysis.
Br J Haematol. 2016; 173(3):413-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
High-throughput sequencing (HTS) is considered a technical revolution that has improved our knowledge of lymphoid and autoimmune diseases, changing our approach to leukaemia both at diagnosis and during follow-up. As part of an immunoglobulin/T cell receptor-based minimal residual disease (MRD) assessment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia patients, we assessed the performance and feasibility of the replacement of the first steps of the approach based on DNA isolation and Sanger sequencing, using a HTS protocol combined with bioinformatics analysis and visualization using the Vidjil software. We prospectively analysed the diagnostic and relapse samples of 34 paediatric patients, thus identifying 125 leukaemic clones with recombinations on multiple loci (TRG, TRD, IGH and IGK), including Dd2/Dd3 and Intron/KDE rearrangements. Sequencing failures were halved (14% vs. 34%, P = 0.0007), enabling more patients to be monitored. Furthermore, more markers per patient could be monitored, reducing the probability of false negative MRD results. The whole analysis, from sample receipt to clinical validation, was shorter than our current diagnostic protocol, with equal resources. V(D)J recombination was successfully assigned by the software, even for unusual recombinations. This study emphasizes the progress that HTS with adapted bioinformatics tools can bring to the diagnosis of leukaemia patients.

Sakai M, Martinez-Arguelles DB, Aprikian AG, et al.
De novo steroid biosynthesis in human prostate cell lines and biopsies.
Prostate. 2016; 76(6):575-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Intratumoral androgen formation may be a factor in the development of prostate cancer (PCa), particularly castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). To evaluate the ability of the human prostate to synthesize de novo steroids, we examined the expression of key enzymes and proteins involved in steroid biosynthesis and metabolism.
METHODS: Using TissueScan™ Cancer qPCR Arrays and quantitative RT-PCR, we performed comparative gene expression analyses between various prostate cell lines and biopsies, including normal, hyperplastic, cancerous, and androgen-deprived prostate cells lines, as well as normal, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), PCa, and CRPC human specimens. These studies were complemented with steroid biosynthesis studies in normal and BPH cells.
RESULTS: Normal human prostate WPMY-1 and WPE1-NA22, benign prostate hyperplasia BPH-1, and cancer PC-3, LNCaP, and VCaP cell lines, as well as normal, BPH, PCa, and CRPC specimens, were used. Although all cell lines express mRNA encoding for hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the mitochondrial translocator protein TSPO and cholesterol side chain cleavage enzyme CYP11A1 were only observed in WPMY-1, BPH-1, and LNCaP cells. HSD3B1, HSD3B2, and CYP17A1 are involved in androgen formation and were not found in most cell lines. WPE1-NA22 and BPH-1 cells were unable to synthesize de novo steroids from mevalonate. Moreover, androgen-deprived cells did not have alterations in the expression of enzymes that could lead to de novo steroid formation. All prostate specimens expressed TSPO and CYP11A1. HSD3B1/2, CYP17A1, HSD17B5, and CYP19A1 mRNA expression was distinct to the profile observed in cells lines. The majority of BPH (90.9%) and PCa (83.1%) specimens contained CYP17A1, compared to control (normal) specimens (46.7%). BPH (82%), PCa (59%), normal (40%), and CRPC (34%) specimens expressed the four key enzymes that metabolize cholesterol to androgens.
CONCLUSION: These studies question the use of prostate cell lines to study steroid biosynthesis and demonstrate that human prostate samples contain transcripts encoding for key steroidogenic enzymes and proteins indicating that they have the potential to synthesize de novo steroids. We propose CYP17A1 as a candidate enzyme that can be used for patient stratification and treatment in BPH and PCa.

Hagberg Thulin M, Nilsson ME, Thulin P, et al.
Osteoblasts promote castration-resistant prostate cancer by altering intratumoral steroidogenesis.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2016; 422:182-191 [PubMed] Related Publications
The skeleton is the preferred site for prostate cancer (PC) metastasis leading to incurable castration-resistant disease. The increased expression of genes encoding steroidogenic enzymes found in bone metastatic tissue from patients suggests that up-regulated steroidogenesis might contribute to tumor growth at the metastatic site. Because of the overall sclerotic phenotype, we hypothesize that osteoblasts regulate the intratumoral steroidogenesis of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in bone. We here show that osteoblasts alter the steroidogenic transcription program in CRPC cells, closely mimicking the gene expression pattern described in CRPC. Osteoblast-stimulated LNCaP-19 cells displayed an increased expression of genes encoding for steroidogenic enzymes (CYP11A1, HSD3B1, and AKR1C3), estrogen signaling-related genes (CYP19A1, and ESR2), and genes for DHT-inactivating enzymes (UGT2B7, UGT2B15, and UGT2B17). The observed osteoblast-induced effect was exclusive to osteogenic CRPC cells (LNCaP-19) in contrast to osteolytic PC-3 and androgen-dependent LNCaP cells. The altered steroid enzymatic pattern was specific for the intratibial tumors and verified by immunohistochemistry in tissue specimens from LNCaP-19 xenograft tumors. Additionally, the overall steroidogenic effect was reflected by corresponding levels of progesterone and testosterone in serum from castrated mice with intratibial xenografts. A bi-directional interplay was demonstrated since both proliferation and Esr2 expression of osteoblasts were induced by CRPC cells in steroid-depleted conditions. Together, our results demonstrate that osteoblasts are important mediators of the intratumoral steroidogenesis of CRPC and for castration-resistant growth in bone. Targeting osteoblasts may therefore be important in the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Doig CL, Battaglia S, Khanim FL, et al.
Knockdown of AKR1C3 exposes a potential epigenetic susceptibility in prostate cancer cells.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016; 155(Pt A):47-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) has been heavily implicated in the propagation of prostate malignancy. AKR1C3 protein is elevated within prostate cancer tissue, it contributes to the formation of androgens and downstream stimulation of the androgen receptor (AR). Elevated expression of AKR1C3 is also reported in acute myeloid leukemia but the target nuclear receptors have been identified as members of the peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor (PPARs) subfamily. Thus, AKR1C3 cancer biology is likely to be tissue dependent and hormonally linked to the availability of ligands for both the steroidogenic and non-steroidogenic nuclear receptors.
METHODS: In the current study we investigated the potential for AKR1C3 to regulate the availability of prostaglandin-derived ligands for PPARg mainly, prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2). Using prostate cancer cell lines with stably reduced AKR1C3 levels we examined the impact of AKR1C3 upon proliferation mediated by PPAR ligands.
RESULTS: These studies revealed knockdown of AKR1C3 had no effect upon the sensitivity of androgen receptor independent prostate cancer cells towards PPAR ligands. However, the reduction of levels of AKR1C3 was accompanied by a significantly reduced mRNA expression of a range of HDACs, transcriptional co-regulators, and increased sensitivity towards SAHA, a clinically approved histone deacetylase inhibitor.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a hitherto unidentified link between AKR1C3 levels and the epigenetic status in prostate cancer cells. This raises an interesting possibility of a novel rational to target AKR1C3, the utilization of AKRIC3 selective inhibitors in combination with HDAC inhibition as part of novel epigenetic therapies in androgen deprivation therapy recurrent prostate cancer.

Agostini M, Janssen KP, Kim IJ, et al.
An integrative approach for the identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers in rectal cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):32561-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, a small fraction of which is represented by locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). If not medically contraindicated, preoperative chemoradiotherapy, represent the standard of care for LARC patients. Unfortunately, patients shows a wide range of response rates in which approximately 20% has a complete pathological response, whereas in 20 to 40% the response is poor or absent.
RESULTS: The following specific gene signature, able to discriminate responders' patients from non-responders, were founded: AKR1C3, CXCL11, CXCL10, IDO1, CXCL9, MMP12 and HLA-DRA. These genes are mainly involved in immune system pathways and interact with drugs traditionally used in the adjuvant treatment of rectal cancer.
DISCUSSION: The present study suggests that new ideas for therapy could be found not only limited to studying genes differentially expressed between the two groups of patients but deepening the mechanisms, associated to response, in which they are involved.
METHODS: Gene expression studies performed by: Agostini et al., Rimkus et al. and Kim et al. have been merged through a meta-analysis of the raw data. Gene expression data-sets have been processed using A-MADMAN. Common differentially expressed gene (DEG) were identified through SAM analysis. To further characterize the identified DEG we deeply investigated its biological role using an integrative computational biology approach.

Yoda T, Kikuchi K, Miki Y, et al.
11β-Prostaglandin F2α, a bioactive metabolite catalyzed by AKR1C3, stimulates prostaglandin F receptor and induces slug expression in breast cancer.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015; 413:236-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostaglandins are a group of lipid compounds involved in inflammation and cancer. We focused on PGF2α and its stereoisomer 11β-PGF2α and examined the expression and functions of their cognate receptor (FP receptor) and metabolizing enzymes (AKR1B1 and AKR1C3 respectively) in breast cancer. In immunohistochemical analysis FP receptor status associated with adverse clinical outcome only in the AKR1C3 positive cases. Therefore, we studied FP receptor-mediated functions of 11β-PGF2α using FP receptor expressed MCF-7 cell line (MCF-FP). 11β-PGF2α treatment phosphorylated ERK and CREB and induced Slug expression through FP receptor in MCF-FP, and MCF-FP cells demonstrated decreased chemosensitivity compared to parental controls. Finally, the correlation between FP receptor and Slug was also confirmed immunohistochemically in breast cancer cases. Overall these results indicated that the actions of AKR1C3 can produce FP receptor ligands whose activation results in carcinoma cell survival in breast cancer.

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