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:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


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 (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 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.

  • Estradiol Dehydrogenases
  • Washington
  • 20-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Disease Progression
  • Aldehyde Reductase
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Messenger RNA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Up-Regulation
  • Tobacco
  • Genotype
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prostate Cancer
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Tumor Burden
  • Gene Expression
  • Androgens
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Testosterone
  • Transcription Factors
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Stem Cells
  • Chromosome 10
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Drug Resistance
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases
  • p53 Protein
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Promoter Regions
  • Racemases and Epimerases
  • Risk Factors
  • Western Blotting
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 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)

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.

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.

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; 422:182-91 [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] 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.

Fan L, Peng G, Hussain A, et al.
The Steroidogenic Enzyme AKR1C3 Regulates Stability of the Ubiquitin Ligase Siah2 in Prostate Cancer Cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(34):20865-79 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Re-activation of androgen receptor (AR) activity is the main driver for development of castration-resistant prostate cancer. We previously reported that the ubiquitin ligase Siah2 enhanced AR transcriptional activity and prostate cancer cell growth. Among the genes we found to be regulated by Siah2 was AKR1C3, which encodes a key androgen biosynthetic enzyme implicated in castration-resistant prostate cancer development. Here, we found that Siah2 inhibition in CWR22Rv1 prostate cancer cells decreased AKR1C3 expression as well as intracellular androgen levels, concomitant with inhibition of cell growth in vitro and in orthotopic prostate tumors. Re-expression of either wild-type or catalytically inactive forms of AKR1C3 partially rescued AR activity and growth defects in Siah2 knockdown cells, suggesting a nonenzymatic role for AKR1C3 in these outcomes. Unexpectedly, AKR1C3 re-expression in Siah2 knockdown cells elevated Siah2 protein levels, whereas AKR1C3 knockdown had the opposite effect. We further found that AKR1C3 can bind Siah2 and inhibit its self-ubiquitination and degradation, thereby increasing Siah2 protein levels. We observed parallel expression of Siah2 and AKR1C3 in human prostate cancer tissues. Collectively, our findings identify a new role for AKR1C3 in regulating Siah2 stability and thus enhancing Siah2-dependent regulation of AR activity in prostate cancer cells.

Ren X, Wu X, Hillier SG, et al.
Local estrogen metabolism in epithelial ovarian cancer suggests novel targets for therapy.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015; 150:54-63 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) accounts for about 90% of malignant ovarian tumors, and estrogen is often implicated in disease progression. We therefore compared the potential for gating of estrogen action via pre-receptor metabolism in normal human ovarian surface epithelium (OSE), EOC and selected EOC cell lines (SKOV3 and PEO1). Steroid sulphatase (STS), estrogen sulfotransferase (EST), 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases 2 (17BHSD2) and 5 (17BHSD5) mRNAs, proteins and enzymatic activities were all detectable in primary cell cultures of OSE and EOC, whereas aromatase and 17BHSD1 expression was negligible. qRT-PCR assay on total mRNA revealed significantly higher EST mRNA expression in OSE compared to EOC (P<0.05). Radioenzymatic measurements confirmed reduced sulfoconjugation (neutralization) of free estrogen in EOC relative to OSE. OSE cells were more effective at converting free [(3)H]-E1 to [(3)H]-E1S or [(3)H]-E2S, while EOC cell lines mainly converted [(3)H]-E1 to [(3)H]-E2 with minimal formation of [(3)H]-E1S or [(3)H]-E2S. IL1α treatment suppressed EST (P<0.01) and 17BHSD2 (P<0.001) mRNA levels in OSE and stimulated STS mRNA levels (P<0.001) in cancer (SKOV3) cells. These results show that estrogen is differentially metabolized in OSE and EOC cells, with E2 'activation' from conjugated estrogen predominating in EOC. Inflammatory cytokines may further augment the local production of E2 by stimulating STS and suppressing EST. We conclude that local estrogen metabolism may be a target for EOC treatment.

Fokidis HB, Yieng Chin M, Ho VW, et al.
A low carbohydrate, high protein diet suppresses intratumoral androgen synthesis and slows castration-resistant prostate tumor growth in mice.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015; 150:35-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dietary factors continue to preside as dominant influences in prostate cancer prevalence and progression-free survival following primary treatment. We investigated the influence of a low carbohydrate diet, compared to a typical Western diet, on prostate cancer (PCa) tumor growth in vivo. LNCaP xenograft tumor growth was studied in both intact and castrated mice, representing a more advanced castration resistant PCa (CRPC). No differences in LNCaP tumor progression (total tumor volume) with diet was observed for intact mice (P = 0.471) however, castrated mice on the Low Carb diet saw a statistically significant reduction in tumor growth rate compared with Western diet fed mice (P = 0.017). No correlation with serum PSA was observed. Steroid profiles, alongside serum cholesterol and cholesteryl ester levels, were significantly altered by both diet and castration. Specifically, DHT concentration with the Low Carb diet was 58% that of the CRPC-bearing mice on the Western diet. Enzymes in the steroidogenesis pathway were directly impacted and tumors isolated from intact mice on the Low Carb diet had higher AKR1C3 protein levels and lower HSD17B2 protein levels than intact mice on the Western diet (ARK1C3: P = 0.074; HSD17B2: P = 0.091, with α = 0.1). In contrast, CRPC tumors from mice on Low Carb diets had higher concentrations of both HSD17B2 (P = 0.016) and SRD5A1 (P = 0.058 with α = 0.1) enzymes. There was no correlation between tumor growth in castrated mice for Low Carb diet versus Western diet and (a) serum insulin (b) GH serum levels (c) insulin receptor (IR) or (d) IGF-1R in tumor tissue. Intact mice fed Western diet had higher serum insulin which was associated with significantly higher blood glucose and tumor tissue IR. We conclude that both diet and castration have a significant impact on the endocrinology of mice bearing LNCaP xenograft tumors. The observed effects of diet on cholesterol and steroid regulation impact tumor tissue DHT specifically and are likely to be mechanistic drivers behind the observed tumor growth suppression.

Powell K, Semaan L, Conley-LaComb MK, et al.
ERG/AKR1C3/AR Constitutes a Feed-Forward Loop for AR Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(11):2569-79 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Intratumoral androgen synthesis in prostate cancer contributes to the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Several enzymes responsible for androgen biosynthesis have been shown to be overexpressed in CRPC, thus contributing to CRPC in a castrated environment. The TMPRSS2-ERG transcription factor has been shown to be present in primary prostate cancer tumors as well as CRPC tumors. We hypothesize that TMPRSS2-ERG fusions regulate androgen biosynthetic enzyme (ABE) gene expression and the production of androgens, which contributes to the development of CRPC.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We used a panel of assays, including lentivirus transduction, gene expression, chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric quantitation, immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and bioinformatics analysis of gene microarray databases, to determine ERG regulation of androgen synthesis.
RESULTS: We found that ERG regulated the expression of the ABE AKR1C3 in prostate cancer cells via direct binding to the AKR1C3 gene. Knockdown of ERG resulted in reduced AKR1C3 expression, which caused a reduction in both DHT synthesis and PSA expression in VCaP prostate cancer cells treated with 5α-androstanedione (5α-Adione), a DHT precursor metabolite. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that ERG was coexpressed with AKR1C3 in prostate cancer tissue samples.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that AKR1C3 catalyzes the biochemical reduction of 5α-Adione to DHT in prostate cancer cells, and that ERG regulates this step through upregulation of AKR1C3 expression. Elucidation of ERG regulation of ABEs in CRPC may help to stratify TMPRSS2-ERG fusion-positive prostate cancer patients in the clinic for anti-androgen receptor-driven therapies; and AKR1C3 may serve as a valuable therapeutic target in the treatment of CRPC.

Zhong T, Xu F, Xu J, et al.
Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) is associated with the doxorubicin resistance in human breast cancer via PTEN loss.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2015; 69:317-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3), one member of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily, is involved in a variety of cancers. Recently, AKR1C3 has been demonstrated to be related with the doxorubicin (DOX) resistance in human breast cancer. Here, we attempted to explore the resistance mechanism mediated by AKR1C3. First, one DOX resistant breast cancer cell line MCF-7/DOX was successfully established and an increased level of AKR1C3 was observed in the MCF-7/DOX cells compared to the parental MCF-7 cells. To investigate the contribution of AKR1C3 in the DOX resistance, we further established an AKR1C3 overexpression cell line, referred to MCF-7/AKR1C3. In the MCF-7/AKR1C3 cells, the DOX induced cytotoxicity, detected by CCK-8 cell viability assay and DAPI staining, was greatly reduced (3.2-fold increase in the IC50 value). Interestingly, a loss of tumor suppressor PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) was observed when AKR1C3 was overexpressed. Secondary to the PTEN loss, the activated Akt also markedly increased. In addition, the AKR1C3 mediated DOX resistance can be conquered by the Akt inhibitor (LY294002). Furthermore, we found that the expression levels of AKR1C3 and PTEN had a negative relationship in the human breast tumor tissues (the standard correlation coefficient=-0.71; P=0.048). In conclusion, our data suggested that the AKR1C3 mediated DOX resistance might be resulted from the activation of anti-apoptosis PTEN/Akt pathway via PTEN loss. AKR1C3 may present a potential therapeutic target in addressing DOX resistance in breast cancer.

Liu C, Lou W, Zhu Y, et al.
Intracrine Androgens and AKR1C3 Activation Confer Resistance to Enzalutamide in Prostate Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(7):1413-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The introduction of enzalutamide and abiraterone has led to improvement in the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. However, acquired resistance to enzalutamide and abiraterone therapies frequently develops within a short period in many patients. In the present study, we developed enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells in an effort to understand the mechanisms of resistance. Global gene-expression analysis showed that the steroid biosynthesis pathway is activated in enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells. One of the crucial steroidogenic enzymes, AKR1C3, was significantly elevated in enzalutamide-resistant cells. In addition, AKR1C3 is highly expressed in metastatic and recurrent prostate cancer and in enzalutamide-resistant prostate xenograft tumors. LC/MS analysis of the steroid metabolites revealed that androgen precursors such as cholesterol, DHEA and progesterone, as well as androgens are highly upregulated in enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells compared to the parental cells. Knockdown of AKR1C3 expression by shRNA or inhibition of AKR1C3 enzymatic activity by indomethacin resensitized enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells to enzalutamide treatment both in vitro and in vivo. In contrast, overexpression of AKR1C3 confers resistance to enzalutamide. Furthermore, the combination of indomethacin and enzalutamide resulted in significant inhibition of enzalutamide-resistant tumor growth. These results suggest that AKR1C3 activation is a critical resistance mechanism associated with enzalutamide resistance; targeting intracrine androgens and AKR1C3 will overcome enzalutamide resistance and improve survival of advanced prostate cancer patients.

Hevir-Kene N, Rižner TL
The endometrial cancer cell lines Ishikawa and HEC-1A, and the control cell line HIEEC, differ in expression of estrogen biosynthetic and metabolic genes, and in androstenedione and estrone-sulfate metabolism.
Chem Biol Interact. 2015; 234:309-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogens have important roles in the pathogenesis of endometrial cancer. They can have carcinogenic effects through stimulation of cell proliferation or formation of DNA-damaging species. To characterize model cell lines of endometrial cancer, we determined the expression profiles of the estrogen receptors (ERs) ESR1, ESR2 and GPER, and 23 estrogen biosynthetic and metabolic genes, and investigated estrogen biosynthesis in the control HIEEC cell line and the Ishikawa and HEC-1A EC cell lines. HIEEC and Ishikawa expressed all ERs to different extents, while HEC-1A cells lacked expression of ESR1. Considering the estrogen biosynthetic and metabolic enzymes, these cells showed statistically significant different gene expression profiles for SULT2B1, HSD3B2, CYP19A1, AKR1C3, HSD17B1, HSD17B7, HSD17B12, CYP1B1, CYP3A5, COMT, SULT1A1, GSTP1 and NQO2. In these cells, E2 was formed from E1S and E1, while androstenedione was not converted to estrogens. HIEEC and Ishikawa had similar profiles of androstenedione and E1 metabolism, but hydrolysis of E1S to E1 was weaker in Ishikawa cells. HEC-1A cells were less efficient for activation of E1 into the potent E2, but metabolized androstenedione to other androgenic metabolites better than HIEEC and Ishikawa cells. This study reveals that HIEEC, Ishikawa, and HEC-1A cells can all form estrogens only via the sulfatase pathway. HIEEC, Ishikawa, and HEC-1A cells expressed all the major genes in the production of hydroxyestrogens and estrogen quinones, and in their conjugation. Significantly higher CYP1B1 mRNA levels in Ishikawa cells compared to HEC-1A cells, together with lack of UGT2B7 expression, indicate that Ishikawa cells can accumulate more toxic estrogen-3,4-quinones than HEC-1A cells, as also for HIEEC cells. This study provides further characterization of HIEEC, Ishikawa, and HEC-1A cells, and shows that they differ greatly in expression of the genes investigated and in their capacity for E2 formation, and thus they represent different in vitro models.

Ju R, Wu W, Fei J, et al.
Association analysis between the polymorphisms of HSD17B5 and HSD17B6 and risk of polycystic ovary syndrome in Chinese population.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2015; 172(3):227-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether single nucleotide polymorphisms of HSD17B5 (AKR1C3) (rs1937845 and rs12529) and HSD17B6 (rs898611) are associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in a Chinese population.
DESIGN: A case-control study was conducted to investigate the relation between HSD17B5 and HSD17B6 polymorphisms and PCOS.
METHODS: In this study, 335 patients with PCOS and 354 controls were recruited. The genotypes of HSD17B5 (rs1937845 and rs12529) and HSD17B6 (rs898611) were detected by the TaqMan method.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: We found that the genotypic frequencies of the rs1937845 polymorphism were different in subjects with PCOS compared with control, with the CT genotype being more commonly found in patients with PCOS than in controls (P=0.005). We observed a significantly 1.74-fold higher risk of CT genotype in the polymorphism rs1937845 in women with PCOS vs the control group (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 1.74; 95% CI=1.19-2.54; P=0.005). A similar, significant 1.47-fold higher risk (adjusted OR, 1.47; 95% CI=1.07-2.03; P=0.018) was demonstrated for T allele of polymorphism rs1937845 associated with PCOS. In patients with PCOS, the rs12529 (G>C) and rs1937845 (C>T) polymorphisms were strongly associated with the high level of testosterone. The TT carriers of polymorphism rs1937845 had a significantly increased homeostatic model assessment-B% (HOMA-B%) (P=0.045) and that might be associated with the high risk of insulin resistance. However, no significant difference was found in genotype or allele distributions of the polymorphisms rs12529 of HSD17B5 and rs898611 of HSD17B6 between patients with PCOS and controls. Additionally, the two polymorphisms of HSD17B5 are associated with hyperandrogenemia in patients with PCOS. In conclusion, our findings showed a significant statistical association between HSD17B5 rs1937845 and PCOS risk in Chinese women. The CT genotype and T allele frequency are influenced significantly to a higher extent in patients with PCOS than controls. Further studies are needed to confirm the results and find out the exact molecular mechanism of the polymorphism on the risk of hyperandrogenemia and PCOS.

Xiong W, Zhao J, Yu H, et al.
Elevated expression of AKR1C3 increases resistance of cancer cells to ionizing radiation via modulation of oxidative stress.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e111911 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
With the aim to elucidate the etiology of radioresistance, we explored the genetic alterations in non-radioresistant vs. resistant esophageal cancer cells acquired by long-term fractionated radiation. We found AKR1C3, an aldo-keto reductase expressed seldom in most human tissues, expressed higher in radioresistance-acquired cells. Suppression of AKR1C3 via RNAi or its chemical inhibitors restored the sensitivity of the acquired tumor cells and xenograft BALB/c nude mice to ionizing radiation (IR). Cellular monitoring of the oxidative stress in the AKR1C3-elevated cells indicated that IR-induced ROS accumulation and the concomitant DNA damage was significantly alleviated, and such protective consequence disappeared upon AKR1C3 knockdown. These findings uncover the potential involvement of AKR1C3 in removal of cellular ROS and explain, at least partially, the acquired radioresistance by AKR1C3 overexpression. A retrospective analysis of esophageal carcinomas also indicated a significant expression of AKR1C3 in radio-resistant but not radio-sensitive surgical samples. Our study may provide a potential biomarker for predicting prognosis of radiotherapy and even direct a targeted therapy for esophageal cancer and other tumors.

Somsedikova A, Markova E, Kolenova A, et al.
Constitutive 53BP1/γH2AX foci are increased in cells of ALL patients dependent on BCR-ABL and TEL-AML1 preleukemic gene fusions.
Neoplasma. 2014; 61(5):617-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Childhood leukemia arises from hematopoietic stem cells by induction of mutations. Quite often chromosomal translocations arise prenatally as first key event in multistage process of leukemogenesis. These translocations result in so called preleukemic gene fusions (PGFs), such as BCR-ABL and TEL-AML1, which generate hybrid proteins with altered properties. Critical DNA damage resulting in translocations are DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). BCR-ABL and TEL-AML1 were shown to be associated with increased constitutive DSBs in various model systems. We analyzed cells from peripheral blood and CD34-/CD34+ cells from bone marrow of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients harboring BCR-ABL or TEL-AML1. We used sensitive technique that is based on automated enumeration of DSB co-localizing proteins γH2AX and 53BP1, which form so called DNA repair foci. We found that level of constitutive γH2AX/53BP1 foci is significantly higher in cells of ALL pediatric patients than in healthy subjects. There was also significant increased level of constitutive γH2AX/53BP1 foci in cells from ALL patients harboring BCR-ABL or TEL-AML1 compared to patients without PGFs. The same increase was observed regardless cell type for both PGFs. Our data on increased DSB levels in the BCR-ABL/TEL-AML1 patient's cells support a model where BCR-ABL/TEL-AML1 induces DNA instability through facilitating mutagenesis and appearance of additional genetic alterations driving leukemogenesis.

Mahdian R, Nodouzi V, Asgari M, et al.
Expression profile of MAGI2 gene as a novel biomarker in combination with major deregulated genes in prostate cancer.
Mol Biol Rep. 2014; 41(9):6125-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Complex molecular changes that occur during prostate cancer (PCa) progression have been described recently. Whole genome sequencing of primary PCa samples has identified recurrent gene deletions and rearrangements in PCa. Specifically, these molecular events disrupt the gene loci of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and membrane-associated guanylate kinase inverted-2 (MAGI2). In the present study, we analyzed the expression profile of MAGI2 gene in a cohort of clinical PCa (n = 45) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) samples (n = 36) as well as three PCa cell lines. We also studied the expression of PCa-related genes, including PTEN, NKX3.1, SPINK1, DD3, AMACR, ERG, and TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in the same samples. The expression of MAGI2 mRNA was significantly down-regulated in PC3, LNCaP and DU-145 PCa cell lines (p = 0.000), and also in clinical tumor samples (Relative expression = 0.307, p = 0.002, [95 % CI 0.002-12.08]). The expression of PTEN, NKX3.1, SPINK1, DD3, and AMACR genes was significantly deregulated in prostate tumor samples (p range 0.000-0.044). A significant correlation was observed between MAGI2 and NKX3.1 expression in tumor samples (p = 0.006). Furthermore, the inclusion of MAGI2 in the gene panel improved the accuracy for discrimination between PCa and BPH samples with the sensitivity and specificity of 0.88 [CI 0.76-0.95] and 0.83 [CI 0.68-0.92], respectively. The data presented here suggest that MAGI2 gene can be considered as a novel component of gene signatures for the detection of PCa.

Knuuttila M, Yatkin E, Kallio J, et al.
Castration induces up-regulation of intratumoral androgen biosynthesis and androgen receptor expression in an orthotopic VCaP human prostate cancer xenograft model.
Am J Pathol. 2014; 184(8):2163-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Androgens are key factors involved in the development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa), and PCa growth can be suppressed by androgen deprivation therapy. In a considerable proportion of men receiving androgen deprivation therapy, however, PCa progresses to castration-resistant PCa (CRPC), making the development of efficient therapies challenging. We used an orthotopic VCaP human PCa xenograft model to study cellular and molecular changes in tumors after androgen deprivation therapy (castration). Tumor growth was monitored through weekly serum prostate-specific antigen measurements, and mice with recurrent tumors after castration were randomized to treatment groups. Serum prostate-specific antigen concentrations showed significant correlation with tumor volume. Castration-resistant tumors retained concentrations of intratumoral androgen (androstenedione, testosterone, and 5α-dihydrotestosterone) at levels similar to tumors growing in intact hosts. Accordingly, castration induced up-regulation of enzymes involved in androgen synthesis (CYP17A1, AKR1C3, and HSD17B6), as well as expression of full-length androgen receptor (AR) and AR splice variants (AR-V1 and AR-V7). Furthermore, AR target gene expression was maintained in castration-resistant xenografts. The AR antagonists enzalutamide (MDV3100) and ARN-509 suppressed PSA production of castration-resistant tumors, confirming the androgen dependency of these tumors. Taken together, the findings demonstrate that our VCaP xenograft model exhibits the key characteristics of clinical CRPC and thus provides a valuable tool for identifying druggable targets and for testing therapeutic strategies targeting AR signaling in CRPC.

Nakarai C, Osawa K, Akiyama M, et al.
Expression of AKR1C3 and CNN3 as markers for detection of lymph node metastases in colorectal cancer.
Clin Exp Med. 2015; 15(3):333-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of the study was to identify a set of discriminating genes that could be used for the prediction of Lymph node (LN) metastasis in human colorectal cancer (CRC), and for this, we compared the whole genome profiles of two CRC cell lines (the primary cell line SW480 and its LN metastatic variant, SW620) and identified eight genes [S100 calcium-binding protein P; aldo-keto reductase family 1(AKR1), member B1 (aldose reductase; AKR1B1); AKR1, member C3 (AKR1C3); calponin 3, acidic; metastasis associated in colon cancer 1; hemoglobin, epsilon 1; trefoil factor 3; and FGGY carbohydrate kinase domain containing]. These genes were examined by quantitative RT-PCR in tissues and LNs in 14 CRC patients and 11 control patients. The level of AKR1C3 mRNA expression was significantly different between the Dukes' stage A, B, and C groups and the control group (p < 0.05, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001) and was also significantly different between Dukes' stage C and A or B groups (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). The expression of CNN3 was significantly different between the Dukes' stage C and B or control groups (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively). There were significant correlations between the expression levels of AKR1C3 and CNN3. AKR1C3 and CNN3 expressions are more accurate and suitable markers for the diagnosis of LN metastasis than the other six genes examined in this study.

Martin N, Salazar-Cardozo C, Vercamer C, et al.
Identification of a gene signature of a pre-transformation process by senescence evasion in normal human epidermal keratinocytes.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:151 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological data show that the incidence of carcinomas in humans is highly dependent on age. However, the initial steps of the age-related molecular oncogenic processes by which the switch towards the neoplastic state occurs remain poorly understood, mostly due to the absence of powerful models. In a previous study, we showed that normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEKs) spontaneously and systematically escape from senescence to give rise to pre-neoplastic emerging cells.
METHODS: Here, this model was used to analyze the gene expression profile associated with the early steps of age-related cell transformation. We compared the gene expression profiles of growing or senescent NHEKs to post-senescent emerging cells. Data analyses were performed by using the linear modeling features of the limma package, resulting in a two-sided t test or F-test based on moderated statistics. The p-values were adjusted for multiple testing by controlling the false discovery rate according to Benjamini Hochberg method.The common gene set resulting of differential gene expression profiles from these two comparisons revealed a post-senescence neoplastic emergence (PSNE) gene signature of 286 genes.
RESULTS: About half of these genes were already reported as involved in cancer or premalignant skin diseases. However, bioinformatics analyses did not highlight inside this signature canonical cancer pathways but metabolic pathways, including in first line the metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450. In order to validate the relevance of this signature as a signature of pretransformation by senescence evasion, we invalidated two components of the metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450, AKR1C2 and AKR1C3. When performed at the beginning of the senescence plateau, this invalidation did not alter the senescent state itself but significantly decreased the frequency of PSNE. Conversely, overexpression of AKR1C2 but not AKR1C3 increased the frequency of PSNE.
CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify reprogrammation of metabolic pathways in normal keratinocytes as a potential determinant of the switch from senescence to pre-transformation.

Mantel A, Carpenter-Mendini A, VanBuskirk J, Pentland AP
Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 is overexpressed in skin squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and affects SCC growth via prostaglandin metabolism.
Exp Dermatol. 2014; 23(8):573-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) is an enzyme involved in metabolizing prostaglandins (PGs) and sex hormones. It metabolizes PGD2 to 9α11β-PGF2 , diverting the spontaneous conversion of PGD2 to the PPARγ agonist, 15-Deoxy-Delta-12, 14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2 ). AKR1C3 is overexpressed in various malignancies, suggesting a tumor promoting function. This work investigates AKR1C3 expression in human non-melanoma skin cancers, revealing overexpression in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Effects of AKR1C3 overexpression were then evaluated using three SCC cell lines. AKR1C3 was detected in all SCC cell lines and its expression was upregulated in response to its substrate, PGD2 . Although attenuating AKR1C3 expression in SCC cells by siRNA did not affect growth, treatment with PGD2 and its dehydration metabolite, 15d-PGJ2 , decreased SCC proliferation in a PPARγ-dependent manner. In addition, treatment with the PPARγ agonist pioglitazone profoundly inhibited SCC proliferation. Finally, we generated an SCC cell line that stably overexpressed AKR1C3 (SCC-AKR1C3). SCC-AKR1C3 metabolized PGD2 to 9α11β-PGF2 12-fold faster than the parent cell line and was protected from the antiproliferative effect mediated by PGD2 . This work suggests that PGD2 and its metabolite 15d-PGJ2 attenuate SCC proliferation in a PPARγ-dependent manner, therefore activation of PPARγ by agonists such as pioglitazone may benefit those at high risk of SCC.

Fankhauser M, Tan Y, Macintyre G, et al.
Canonical androstenedione reduction is the predominant source of signaling androgens in hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(21):5547-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: It has been recognized for almost a decade that concentrations of signaling androgens sufficient to activate the androgen receptor are present in castration-resistant prostate cancer tissue. The source of these androgens is highly controversial, with three competing models proposed. We, therefore, wished to determine the androgenic potential of human benign and malignant (hormone-naïve and treated) prostate tissue when incubated with various precursors and examine concomitant changes in enzyme expression.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Freshly harvested prostate tissue [benign, hormone-naïve, and hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC)] was incubated in excess concentrations of cholesterol, progesterone, DHEA, androstenedione, or testosterone for 96 hours, and steroid concentrations in the conditioned media measured by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Changes in the expression of androgen synthetic and/or degradative enzymes were determined by expression microarray and qPCR. Significant changes were confirmed in an independent dataset.
RESULTS: Of the precursor molecules tested, only incubation with androstenedione gave rise to significant concentrations of signaling androgens. Although this was observed in all tissue types, it occurred to a significantly greater degree in hormone-refractory compared with hormone-naïve cancer. Consistent with this, gene set enrichment analysis of the expression microarray data revealed significant upregulation of 17HSD17B activity, with overexpression of the canonical enzyme AKR1C3 confirmed by qPCR in the same samples and in a publicly available expression dataset. Importantly, we found no evidence to support a significant contribution from either the "backdoor" or "5-α dione" pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: Reduction of androstenedione to testosterone by the canonical HSD17B AKR1C3 is the predominant source of signaling androgens in HRPC.

McNamara KM, Yoda T, Nurani AM, et al.
Androgenic pathways in the progression of triple-negative breast carcinoma: a comparison between aggressive and non-aggressive subtypes.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 145(2):281-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
One of the active intracellular pathways/networks in triple-negative breast carcinoma (TNBC) is that of the androgen receptor (AR). In this study, we examined AR and androgen-metabolising enzyme immunoreactivity in subcategories of TNBC to further elucidate the roles of androgenic pathways in TNBC. We utilised formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer samples from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive ductal carcinoma patient cohorts. We then used immunohistochemistry to classify these samples into basal-like and non-basal samples and to assess interactions between AR, androgen-metabolising enzymes and proliferation. To further substantiate our hypothesis and provide mechanistic insights, we also looked at the expression and regulation of these factors in publically available microarray data and in a panel of TNBC AR-positive cell lines. DCIS was associated with higher levels of AR and enzymes (p < 0.02), although a similar difference was not noticed in basal and non-basal samples. AR and enzymes were correlated in all states. In TNBC cell lines (MDA-MD-453, MFM-223 and SUM185-PE), we found that DHT treatment up-regulated 5αR1 and 17βHSD5 suggesting a mechanistic explanation for the correlations observed in the histological samples. Publicly available microarray data in TNBC cases suggested similar patterns to those observed in histological samples. In the majority of settings, including publically available microarray data, an inverse association between AR and proliferation was detected. These findings suggest that decreases in AR and androgen-metabolising enzymes may be involved in the increased biological aggressiveness in TNBC development.

Gustafson HL, Yao S, Goldman BH, et al.
Genetic polymorphisms in oxidative stress-related genes are associated with outcomes following treatment for aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Am J Hematol. 2014; 89(6):639-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Variable survival outcomes are seen following treatment for aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). This study examined whether outcomes for aggressive B-cell NHL are associated with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in oxidative stress-related genes, which can alter drug metabolism and immune responses. Genotypes for 53 SNPs in 29 genes were determined for 337 patients given anthracycline-based therapies. Their associations with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated by Cox proportional hazard regression; associations with hematologic toxicity were estimated by logistic regression. To validate the findings, the top three SNPs were tested in an independent cohort of 572 DLBCL patients. The top SNPs associated with PFS in the discovery cohort were the rare homozygotes for MPO rs2243828 (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.14-3.06, P = 0.013), AKR1C3 rs10508293 (HR = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.28-3.41, P = 0.0032) and NCF4 rs1883112 (HR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.43-1.02, P = 0.06). The association of the NCF4 SNP with PFS was replicated in the validation dataset (HR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.44-1.01, P = 0.05) and the meta-analysis was significant (HR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.49-0.89, P < 0.01). The association of the MPO SNP was attenuated in the validation dataset, while the meta-analysis remained significant (HR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.12-2.41). These two SNPs showed similar trends with OS in the meta-analysis (for NCF4, HR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.51-1.02, P = 0.07 and for MPO, HR = 2.06, 95% CI = 1.36-3.12, P < 0.01). In addition, patients with the rare homozygote of the NCF4 SNP had an increased risk of hematologic toxicity. We concluded that genetic variations in NCF4 may contribute to treatment outcomes for patients with aggressive NHL.

Quiñones-Lombraña A, Ferguson D, Hageman Blair R, et al.
Interindividual variability in the cardiac expression of anthracycline reductases in donors with and without Down syndrome.
Pharm Res. 2014; 31(7):1644-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: The intracardiac synthesis of anthracycline alcohol metabolites (e.g., daunorubicinol) contributes to the pathogenesis of anthracycline-related cardiotoxicity. Cancer patients with Down syndrome (DS) are at increased risk for anthracycline-related cardiotoxicity. We profiled the expression of anthracycline metabolizing enzymes in hearts from donors with- and without- DS.
METHODS: Cardiac expression of CBR1, CBR3, AKR1A1, AKR1C3 and AKR7A2 was examined by quantitative real time PCR, quantitative immunoblotting, and enzyme activity assays using daunorubicin. The CBR1 polymorphism rs9024 was investigated by allelic discrimination with fluorescent probes. The contribution of CBRs/AKRs proteins to daunorubicin reductase activity was examined by multiple linear regression.
RESULTS: CBR1 was the most abundant transcript (average relative expression; DS: 81%, non-DS: 58%), and AKR7A2 was the most abundant protein (average relative expression; DS: 38%, non-DS: 35%). Positive associations between cardiac CBR1 protein levels and daunorubicin reductase activity were found for samples from donors with- and without- DS. Regression analysis suggests that sex, CBR1, AKR1A1, and AKR7A2 protein levels were significant contributors to cardiac daunorubicin reductase activity. CBR1 rs9024 genotype status impacts on cardiac CBR1 expression in non-DS hearts.
CONCLUSIONS: CBR1, AKR1A1, and AKR7A2 protein levels point to be important determinants for predicting the synthesis of cardiotoxic daunorubicinol in heart.

Wu CH, Ko JL, Chen SC, et al.
Clinical implications of aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 and its relationship with lipocalin 2 in cancer of the uterine cervix.
Gynecol Oncol. 2014; 132(2):474-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Over-expression of the aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 (AKR1C3) has been demonstrated in many human cancers. Lipocalin 2 (LCN2) is reported to inhibit cervical cancer metastasis but little is known regarding its relationship with AKR1C3 in the development and progression of uterine cervical cancer. This study aimed to investigate the involvement of AKR1C3 and its relationship with LCN2 in cervical cancer.
METHODS: The roles of AKR1C3 and LCN2 were investigated using the lentivirus shRNA system in SiHa and Caski cervical cancer cells. LCN2 and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) promoters were constructed to demonstrate transcriptional regulation by shAKR1C3 and shLCN2, respectively. The influences of metastatic phenotypes were analyzed by wound healing, Boyden chamber, and immunofluorescence assays. The activity of MMP-2 was determined by zymography assay. The impacts of AKR1C3 and LCN2 on patient prognosis were evaluated using tissue microarrays by Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier models.
RESULTS: Silencing of the AKR1C3 gene increased the expression of LCN2 and decreased the migratory and invasive abilities and changed the cytoskeleton of cervical cancer cells. When AKR1C3 was over-expressed, it decreased LCN2 promoter activity and LCN2 expression and increased cell migration. The mRNA level and enzyme activity of MMP-2 increased in silenced LCN2 cells. Positive AKR1C3 and negative LCN2 were correlated with higher recurrence and poorer survival of cervical cancer patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Silencing of AKR1C3 increases LCN2 expression and inhibits metastasis in cervical cancer. Both AKR1C3 and LCN2 serve as molecular targets for cancer therapy to improve the clinical outcome of cervical cancer patients.

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