Gene Summary

Gene:AKR1C1; aldo-keto reductase family 1, member C1
Aliases: C9, DD1, DDH, DDH1, H-37, HBAB, MBAB, HAKRC, DD1/DD2, 2-ALPHA-HSD, 20-ALPHA-HSD
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 reaction of progesterone to the inactive form 20-alpha-hydroxy-progesterone. This gene shares high sequence identity with three other gene members and is clustered with those three genes at chromosome 10p15-p14. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (27)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (1)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 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.

  • Promoter Regions
  • Signal Transduction
  • Chromosome 10
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • U937 Cells
  • Estradiol Dehydrogenases
  • Genotype
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Lung Cancer
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Breast Cancer
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Smoking
  • Oxidative Stress
  • NFE2L2
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases
  • Washington
  • siRNA
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Up-Regulation
  • Cell Survival
  • Aldehyde Reductase
  • Messenger RNA
  • Testosterone
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • 20-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Polymorphism
  • Gene Silencing
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Steroid Isomerases
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: AKR1C1 (cancer-related)

Boldrup L, Coates PJ, Laurell G, et al.
Downregulation of miRNA-424: a sign of field cancerisation in clinically normal tongue adjacent to squamous cell carcinoma.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(11):1760-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The overall survival for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue is low and the search for early diagnostic and prognostic markers is thus essential. MicroRNAs have been suggested as potential prognostic and diagnostic candidates in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck in general.
METHODS: On the basis of the known differences between sub-sites within the oral cavity, we investigated the expression and role of microRNA-424 in squamous cell carcinoma arising in tongue. MicroRNA levels were measured by qRT-PCR in both tissue and plasma samples.
RESULTS: Levels of microRNA-424 were upregulated in tongue squamous cell carcinoma, but not in tumours originating from gingiva or floor of the mouth. Interestingly, microRNA-424 was downregulated in clinically normal tongue tissue next to tumour compared with completely healthy tongue, indicating that microRNA-424 could be a marker of field cancerisation in this tumour type. However, expression of microRNA-424 in a tongue-derived epithelial cell line revealed no significant changes in the expression profile of proteins and genes.
CONCLUSIONS: Our patient data show that microRNA-424 alterations are a marker of field cancerisation specific for tongue tumourigenesis, which also could have a role in development of tongue squamous cell carcinoma.

Amankwatia EB, Chakravarty P, Carey FA, et al.
MicroRNA-224 is associated with colorectal cancer progression and response to 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy by KRAS-dependent and -independent mechanisms.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(9):1480-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancers arise from benign adenomas, although not all adenomas progress to cancer and there are marked interpatient differences in disease progression. We have previously associated KRAS mutations with disease progression and reduced survival in colorectal cancer patients.
METHODS: We used TaqMan low-density array (TLDA) qRT-PCR analysis to identify miRNAs differentially expressed in normal colorectal mucosa, adenomas and cancers and in isogeneic KRAS WT and mutant HCT116 cells, and used a variety of phenotypic assays to assess the influence of miRNA expression on KRAS activity, chemosensitivity, proliferation and invasion.
RESULTS: MicroRNA-224 was differentially expressed in dysplastic colorectal disease and in isogeneic KRAS WT and mutant HCT116 cells. Antagomir-mediated miR-224 silencing in HCT116 KRAS WT cells phenocopied KRAS mutation, increased KRAS activity and ERK and AKT phosphorylation. 5-FU chemosensitivity was significantly increased in miR-224 knockdown cells, and in NIH3T3 cells expressing KRAS and BRAF mutant proteins. Bioinformatics analysis of predicted miR-224 target genes predicted altered cell proliferation, invasion and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypes that were experimentally confirmed in miR-224 knockdown cells.
CONCLUSIONS: We describe a novel mechanism of KRAS regulation, and highlight the clinical utility of colorectal cancer-specific miRNAs as disease progression or clinical response biomarkers.

Hlaváč V, Brynychová V, Václavíková R, et al.
The role of cytochromes p450 and aldo-keto reductases in prognosis of breast carcinoma patients.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2014; 93(28):e255 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metabolism of anticancer drugs affects their antitumor effects. This study has investigated the associations of gene expression of enzymes metabolizing anticancer drugs with therapy response and survival of breast carcinoma patients. Gene expression of 13 aldo-keto reductases (AKRs), carbonyl reductase 1, and 10 cytochromes P450 (CYPs) was assessed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in tumors and paired adjacent nonneoplastic tissues from 68 posttreatment breast carcinoma patients. Eleven candidate genes were then evaluated in an independent series of 50 pretreatment patients. Protein expression of the most significant genes was confirmed by immunoblotting. AKR1A1 was significantly overexpressed and AKR1C1-4, KCNAB1, CYP2C19, CYP3A4, and CYP3A5 downregulated in tumors compared with control nonneoplastic tissues after correction for multiple testing. Significant association of CYP2B6 transcript levels in tumors with expression of hormonal receptors was found in the posttreatment set and replicated in the pretreatment set of patients. Significantly higher intratumoral levels of AKR1C1, AKR1C2, or CYP2W1 were found in responders to neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with nonresponders. Patients with high AKR7A3 or CYP2B6 levels in the pretreatment set had significantly longer disease-free survival than patients with low levels. Protein products of AKR1C1, AKR1C2, AKR7A3, CYP3A4, and carbonyl reductase (CBR1) were found in tumors and those of AKR1C1, AKR7A3, and CBR1 correlated with their transcript levels. Small interfering RNA-directed knockdown of AKR1C2 or vector-mediated upregulation of CYP3A4 in MDA-MB-231 model cell line had no effect on cell proliferation after paclitaxel treatment in vitro. Prognostic and predictive roles of drug-metabolizing enzymes strikingly differ between posttreatment and pretreatment breast carcinoma patients. Mechanisms of action of AKR1C2, AKR7A3, CYP2B6, CYP3A4, and CBR1 should continue to be further followed in breast carcinoma patients and models.

Sinreih M, Anko M, Zukunft S, et al.
Important roles of the AKR1C2 and SRD5A1 enzymes in progesterone metabolism in endometrial cancer model cell lines.
Chem Biol Interact. 2015; 234:297-308 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometrial cancer is the most frequently diagnosed gynecological malignancy. It is associated with prolonged exposure to estrogens that is unopposed by progesterone, whereby enhanced metabolism of progesterone may decrease its protective effects, as it can deprive progesterone receptors of their active ligand. Furthermore, the 5α-pregnane metabolites formed can stimulate proliferation and may thus contribute to carcinogenesis. The aims of our study were to: (1) identify and quantify progesterone metabolites formed in the HEC-1A and Ishikawa model cell lines of endometrial cancer; and (2) pinpoint the enzymes involved in progesterone metabolism, and delineate their roles. Progesterone metabolism studies combined with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry enabled identification and quantification of the metabolites formed in these cells. Further quantitative PCR analysis and small-interfering-RNA-mediated gene silencing identified individual progesterone metabolizing enzymes and their relevant roles. In Ishikawa and HEC-1A cells, progesterone was metabolized mainly to 20α-hydroxy-pregn-4-ene-3-one, 20α-hydroxy-5α-pregnane-3-one, and 5α-pregnane-3α/β,20α-diol. The major difference between these cell lines was rate of progesterone metabolism, which was faster in HEC-1A cells. In the Ishikawa and HEC-1A cells, expression of AKR1C2 was 110-fold and 6800-fold greater, respectively, than expression of AKR1C1, which suggests that 20-ketosteroid reduction of 5α-pregnanes and 4-pregnenes is catalyzed mainly by AKR1C2. AKR1C1/AKR1C2 gene silencing showed decreased progesterone metabolism in both cell lines, thus further supporting the significant role of AKR1C2. SRD5A1 was also expressed in these cells, and its silencing confirmed that 5α-reduction is catalyzed by 5α-reductase type 1. Silencing of SRD5A1 also had the most pronounced effects, with decreased rate of progesterone metabolism, and consequently higher concentrations of unmetabolized progesterone. Our data confirm that in model cell lines of endometrial cancer, AKR1C2 and SRD5A1 have crucial roles in progesterone metabolism, and may represent novel targets for treatment.

Lv L, Li Y, Deng H, et al.
MiR-193a-3p promotes the multi-chemoresistance of bladder cancer by targeting the HOXC9 gene.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 357(1):105-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chemoresistance prevents the curative cancer chemotherapy and presents a formidable challenge for both cancer researchers and clinicians. We have previously shown that miR-193a-3p promotes the multi-chemoresistance of bladder cancer cells via repressing its three target genes: SRSF2, PLAU and HIC2. Here, we showed that as a new direct target, the homeobox C9 (HOXC9) gene also executes the promoting effect of miR-193a-3p on the bladder cancer chemoresistance from a systematic study of multi-chemosensitive (5637) and resistant (H-bc) bladder cancer cell lines in both cell culture and tumor-xenograft/nude mice system. Paralleled with the changes in the drug-triggered cell death, the activities of both DNA damage response and oxidative stress pathways were drastically altered by a forced reversal of miR-193a-3p or HOXC9 levels in bladder cancer cells. In addition to a new mechanistic insight, our results provide a set of the essential genes in the miR-193a-3p/HOXC9/DNA damage response/oxidative stress pathway axis as the diagnostic targets for the guided anti-bladder cancer chemotherapy.

Drew JE, Farquharson AJ, Mayer CD, et al.
Predictive gene signatures: molecular markers distinguishing colon adenomatous polyp and carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e113071 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
Cancers exhibit abnormal molecular signatures associated with disease initiation and progression. Molecular signatures could improve cancer screening, detection, drug development and selection of appropriate drug therapies for individual patients. Typically only very small amounts of tissue are available from patients for analysis and biopsy samples exhibit broad heterogeneity that cannot be captured using a single marker. This report details application of an in-house custom designed GenomeLab System multiplex gene expression assay, the hCellMarkerPlex, to assess predictive gene signatures of normal, adenomatous polyp and carcinoma colon tissue using archived tissue bank material. The hCellMarkerPlex incorporates twenty-one gene markers: epithelial (EZR, KRT18, NOX1, SLC9A2), proliferation (PCNA, CCND1, MS4A12), differentiation (B4GANLT2, CDX1, CDX2), apoptotic (CASP3, NOX1, NTN1), fibroblast (FSP1, COL1A1), structural (ACTG2, CNN1, DES), gene transcription (HDAC1), stem cell (LGR5), endothelial (VWF) and mucin production (MUC2). Gene signatures distinguished normal, adenomatous polyp and carcinoma. Individual gene targets significantly contributing to molecular tissue types, classifier genes, were further characterised using real-time PCR, in-situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry revealing aberrant epithelial expression of MS4A12, LGR5 CDX2, NOX1 and SLC9A2 prior to development of carcinoma. Identified gene signatures identify aberrant epithelial expression of genes prior to cancer development using in-house custom designed gene expression multiplex assays. This approach may be used to assist in objective classification of disease initiation, staging, progression and therapeutic responses using biopsy material.

Das S, Yeung KT, Mahajan MA, Samuels HH
Fas Activated Serine-Threonine Kinase Domains 2 (FASTKD2) mediates apoptosis of breast and prostate cancer cells through its novel FAST2 domain.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:852 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Expression of NRIF3 (Nuclear Receptor Interacting Factor-3) rapidly and selectively leads to apoptosis of breast cancer cells. This occurs through binding of NRIF3 or its 30 amino acid Death Domain-1 (DD1) region to the transcriptional repressor, DIF-1 (DD1 Interacting Factor-1). DIF-1 acts in a wide variety of breast cancer cells but not other cell types to repress the pro-apoptotic gene, FASTKD2. Expression of NRIF3 or DD1 inactivates the DIF-1 repressor leading to rapid derepression of FASTKD2, which initiates apoptosis within 5-8 h of expression. Although FASTKD2 is an inner mitochondrial membrane protein, it does not require mitochondrial localization to initiate apoptosis.
METHODS: Androgen dependent LNCaP cells as well as two androgen independent LNCaP cell lines (LNCaP-AI and LNCaP-abl) were studied and LNCaP-AI cells were engineered to conditionally express DD1 or the inactive DD1-S28A with 4-hydroxytamoxifen. Apoptosis was assessed by TUNEL assay. FASTKD2 is related to 4 other proteins encoded in the human genome (FASTKD1, 3, 4, 5). All contain a poorly conserved putative bipartite kinase domain designated as FAST1_FAST2. We examined whether expression of any of the other FASTKD isoforms leads to apoptosis and sought to identify the region of FASTKD2 necessary to initiate the apoptotic pathway.
RESULTS: Of the FASTKD1-5 isoforms only expression of FASTKD2 leads to apoptosis. Although, the NRIF3/DD1/DIF-1 pathway does not mediate apoptosis of a wide variety of non-breast cancer cell lines, because of certain similarities and gene signatures between breast and prostate cancer we explored whether the NRIF3/DD1/DIF-1/FASTKD2 pathway mediates apoptosis of prostate cancer cells. We found that the pathway leads to apoptosis in LNCaP cells, including the two androgen-independent LNCaP cell lines that are generally resistant to apoptosis. Lastly, we identified that FASTKD2-mediated apoptosis is initiated by the 81 amino acid FAST2 region.
CONCLUSIONS: The NRIF3/DIF-1/FASTKD2 pathway acts as a "death switch" in breast and prostate cancer cells. Deciphering how this pathway is regulated and how FASTKD2 initiates the apoptotic response will allow for the development of therapeutic agents for the treatment of androgen-independent prostate cancer or Tamoxifen-unresponsive Estrogen Receptor negative tumors as well as metastatic breast or prostate cancer.

Sharpe DJ, Orr KS, Moran M, et al.
POU2F1 activity regulates HOXD10 and HOXD11 promoting a proliferative and invasive phenotype in head and neck cancer.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(18):8803-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
HOX genes are master regulators of organ morphogenesis and cell differentiation during embryonic development, and continue to be expressed throughout post-natal life. To test the hypothesis that HOX genes are dysregulated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) we defined their expression profile, and investigated the function, transcriptional regulation and clinical relevance of a subset of highly expressed HOXD genes. Two HOXD genes, D10 and D11, showed strikingly high levels in HNSCC cell lines, patient tumor samples and publicly available datasets. Knockdown of HOXD10 in HNSCC cells caused decreased proliferation and invasion, whereas knockdown of HOXD11 reduced only invasion. POU2F1 consensus sequences were identified in the 5' DNA of HOXD10 and D11. Knockdown of POU2F1 significantly reduced expression of HOXD10 and D11 and inhibited HNSCC proliferation. Luciferase reporter constructs of the HOXD10 and D11 promoters confirmed that POU2F1 consensus binding sites are required for optimal promoter activity. Utilizing patient tumor samples a significant association was found between immunohistochemical staining of HOXD10 and both the overall and the disease-specific survival, adding further support that HOXD10 is dysregulated in head and neck cancer. Additional studies are now warranted to fully evaluate HOXD10 as a prognostic tool in head and neck cancers.

Han B, Li W, Sun Y, et al.
A prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor, ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate, induces cell autophagy and apoptosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells via up-regulation of BNIP3 and N-myc downstream-regulated gene-1.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e107204 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
The protocatechuic acid ethyl ester ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate is an antioxidant found in the testa of peanut seeds. Previous studies have shown that ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate can effectively reduce breast cancer cell metastasis by inhibiting prolyl-hydroxylase. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxic effect of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate on esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro and identified key regulators of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate-induced esophageal cancer cell death through transcription expression profiling. Using flow cytometry analysis, we found that ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate induced S phase accumulation, a loss in mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, and caspase-dependent apoptosis. Moreover, an expression profile analysis identified 46 up- and 9 down-regulated genes in esophageal cancer KYSE 170 cells treated with ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate. These differentially expressed genes are involved in several signaling pathways associated with cell cycle regulation and cellular metabolism. Consistent with the expression profile results, the transcriptional and protein expression levels of candidate genes NDRG1, BNIP3, AKR1C1, CCNG2 and VEGFA were found to be significantly increased in treated KYSE 170 cells by reverse-transcription PCR and western blot analysis. We also found that protein levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, BNIP3, Beclin and NDRG1 were increased and that enriched expression of BNIP3 and Beclin caused autophagy mediated by microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 in the treated cells. Autophagy and apoptosis were activated together in esophageal cancer cells after exposed to ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate. Furthermore, knock-down of NDRG1 expression by siRNA significantly attenuated apoptosis in the cancer cells, implying that NDRG1 may be required for ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate-induced apoptosis. Together, these results suggest that the cytotoxic effects of ethyl-3,4-dihydroxybenzoate were mediated by the up-regulation of NDRG1, BNIP3, Beclin and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, initiating BNIP3 and Beclin mediated autophagy at an early stage and ultimately resulting in esophageal cancer cell apoptosis.

Antal O, Hackler L, Shen J, et al.
Combination of unsaturated fatty acids and ionizing radiation on human glioma cells: cellular, biochemical and gene expression analysis.
Lipids Health Dis. 2014; 13:142 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Based on previous observations a potential resort in the therapy of the particularly radioresistant glioma would be its treatment with unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) combined with irradiation.
METHODS: We evaluated the effect of different UFAs (arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and oleic acid (OA)) on human U87 MG glioma cell line by classical biochemical end-point assays, impedance-based, real-time cellular and holographic microscopic analysis. We further analyzed AA, DHA, and GLA at morphological, gene and miRNA expression level.
RESULTS: Corresponding to LDH-, MTS assays and real-time cytoxicity profiles AA, DHA, and GLA enhanced the radio sensitivity of glioma cells. The collective application of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and irradiation significantly changed the expression of EGR1, TNF-α, NOTCH1, c-MYC, TP53, HMOX1, AKR1C1, NQO1, while up-regulation of GADD45A, EGR1, GRP78, DDIT3, c-MYC, FOSL1 were recorded both in response to PUFA treatment or irradiation alone. Among the analyzed miRNAs miR-146 and miR-181a were induced by DHA treatment. Overexpression of miR-146 was also detected by combined treatment of GLA and irradiation.
CONCLUSIONS: Because PUFAs increased the radio responsiveness of glioma cells as assessed by biochemical and cellular assays, they might increase the therapeutic efficacy of radiation in treatment of gliomas. We demonstrated that treatment with DHA, AA and GLA as adjunct to irradiation up-regulated the expression of oxidative-stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress related genes, and affected NOTCH1 expression, which could explain their additive effects.

Van Slambrouck S, Groux-Degroote S, Krzewinski-Recchi MA, et al.
Carbohydrate-to-carbohydrate interactions between α2,3-linked sialic acids on α2 integrin subunits and asialo-GM1 underlie the bone metastatic behaviour of LNCAP-derivative C4-2B prostate cancer cells.
Biosci Rep. 2014; 34(5) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
Complex interplays among proteins, lipids and carbohydrates can alter the phenotype and are suggested to have a crucial role in tumour metastasis. Our previous studies indicated that a complex of the GSLs (glycosphingolipids), AsGM1 (asialo-GM1), which lacks α2,3-linked sialic acid, and α2β1 integrin receptors is responsible for the metastatic behaviour of C4-2B prostate cancer cells. Herein, we identified and addressed the functional significance of changes in sialylation during prostate cancer progression. We observed an increase in α2,3-linked sialic acid residues on α2 subunits of α2β1 integrin receptors, correlating with increased gene expression of α2,3-STs (sialyltransferases), particularly ST3GAL3. Cell surface α2,3-sialylation of α2 subunits was required for the integrin α2β1-dependent cell adhesion to collagen type I and the same α2,3-linked sialic acid residues on the integrin receptor were responsible for the interaction with the carbohydrate moiety of AsGM1, explaining the complex formation between AsGM1 and α2β1 integrin receptors. These results provide novel insights into the role of sialic acids in the organization and function of important membrane components in invasion and metastatic processes.

Fernández-Barral A, Orgaz JL, Baquero P, et al.
Regulatory and functional connection of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor and anti-metastatic pigment epithelium derived factor in melanoma.
Neoplasia. 2014; 16(6):529-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 28/04/2016 Related Publications
Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a member of the serine protease inhibitor superfamily, has potent anti-metastatic effects in cutaneous melanoma through its direct actions on endothelial and melanoma cells. Here we show that PEDF expression positively correlates with microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) in melanoma cell lines and human samples. High PEDF and MITF expression is characteristic of low aggressive melanomas classified according to molecular and pathological criteria, whereas both factors are decreased in senescent melanocytes and naevi. Importantly, MITF silencing down-regulates PEDF expression in melanoma cell lines and primary melanocytes, suggesting that the correlation in the expression reflects a causal relationship. In agreement, analysis of Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) data sets revealed three MITF binding regions within the first intron of SERPINF1, and reporter assays demonstrated that the binding of MITF to these regions is sufficient to drive transcription. Finally, we demonstrate that exogenous PEDF expression efficiently halts in vitro migration and invasion, as well as in vivo dissemination of melanoma cells induced by MITF silencing. In summary, these results identify PEDF as a novel transcriptional target of MITF and support a relevant functional role for the MITF-PEDF axis in the biology of melanoma.

Sawers L, Ferguson MJ, Ihrig BR, et al.
Glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) directly influences platinum drug chemosensitivity in ovarian tumour cell lines.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 111(6):1150-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 09/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy response in ovarian cancer patients is frequently compromised by drug resistance, possibly due to altered drug metabolism. Platinum drugs are metabolised by glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), which is abundantly, but variably expressed in ovarian tumours. We have created novel ovarian tumour cell line models to investigate the extent to which differential GSTP1 expression influences chemosensitivity.
METHODS: Glutathione S-transferase P1 was stably deleted in A2780 and expression significantly reduced in cisplatin-resistant A2780DPP cells using Mission shRNA constructs, and MTT assays used to compare chemosensitivity to chemotherapy drugs used to treat ovarian cancer. Differentially expressed genes in GSTP1 knockdown cells were identified by Illumina HT-12 expression arrays and qRT-PCR analysis, and altered pathways predicted by MetaCore (GeneGo) analysis. Cell cycle changes were assessed by FACS analysis of PI-labelled cells and invasion and migration compared in quantitative Boyden chamber-based assays.
RESULTS: Glutathione S-transferase P1 knockdown selectively influenced cisplatin and carboplatin chemosensitivity (2.3- and 4.83-fold change in IC50, respectively). Cell cycle progression was unaffected, but cell invasion and migration was significantly reduced. We identified several novel GSTP1 target genes and candidate platinum chemotherapy response biomarkers.
CONCLUSIONS: Glutathione S-transferase P1 has an important role in cisplatin and carboplatin metabolism in ovarian cancer cells. Inter-tumour differences in GSTP1 expression may therefore influence response to platinum-based chemotherapy in ovarian cancer patients.

Clark GR, Sciacovelli M, Gaude E, et al.
Germline FH mutations presenting with pheochromocytoma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(10):E2046-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: At least a third of the patients with pheochromocytoma (PCC) or paraganglioma (PGL) harbor an underlying germline mutation in a known PCC/PGL gene. Mutations in genes (SDHB, SDHD, SDHC, and SDHA) encoding a component of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), are a major cause of inherited PCC and PGL. SDHB mutations are also, albeit less frequently, associated with inherited renal cell carcinoma. Inactivation of SDH and another tricarboxylic acid cycle component, fumarate hydratase (FH), have both been associated with abnormalities of cellular metabolism, responsible for the activation of hypoxic gene response pathways and epigenetic alterations (eg, DNA methylation). However, the clinical phenotype of germline mutations in SDHx genes and FH is usually distinct, with FH mutations classically associated with hereditary cutaneous and uterine leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma, although recently an association with PCC/PGL has been reported.
OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN: To identify potential novel PCC/PGL predisposition genes, we initially undertook exome resequencing studies in a case of childhood PCC, and subsequently FH mutation analysis in a further 71 patients with PCC, PGL, or head and neck PGL.
RESULTS: After identifying a candidate FH missense mutation in the exome study, we then detected a further candidate missense mutation (p.Glu53Lys) by candidate gene sequencing. In vitro analyses demonstrated that both missense mutations (p.Cys434Tyr and p.Glu53Lys) were catalytically inactive.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings 1) confirm that germline FH mutations may present, albeit rarely with PCC or PGL; and 2) extend the clinical phenotype associated with FH mutations to pediatric PCC.

Moreno E, Andradas C, Medrano M, et al.
Targeting CB2-GPR55 receptor heteromers modulates cancer cell signaling.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(32):21960-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
The G protein-coupled receptors CB2 (CB2R) and GPR55 are overexpressed in cancer cells and human tumors. Because a modulation of GPR55 activity by cannabinoids has been suggested, we analyzed whether this receptor participates in cannabinoid effects on cancer cells. Here we show that CB2R and GPR55 form heteromers in cancer cells, that these structures possess unique signaling properties, and that modulation of these heteromers can modify the antitumoral activity of cannabinoids in vivo. These findings unveil the existence of previously unknown signaling platforms that help explain the complex behavior of cannabinoids and may constitute new targets for therapeutic intervention in oncology.

Tinti M, Dissanayake K, Synowsky S, et al.
Identification of 2R-ohnologue gene families displaying the same mutation-load skew in multiple cancers.
Open Biol. 2014; 4:140029 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
The complexity of signalling pathways was boosted at the origin of the vertebrates, when two rounds of whole genome duplication (2R-WGD) occurred. Those genes and proteins that have survived from the 2R-WGD-termed 2R-ohnologues-belong to families of two to four members, and are enriched in signalling components relevant to cancer. Here, we find that while only approximately 30% of human transcript-coding genes are 2R-ohnologues, they carry 42-60% of the gene mutations in 30 different cancer types. Across a subset of cancer datasets, including melanoma, breast, lung adenocarcinoma, liver and medulloblastoma, we identified 673 2R-ohnologue families in which one gene carries mutations at multiple positions, while sister genes in the same family are relatively mutation free. Strikingly, in 315 of the 322 2R-ohnologue families displaying such a skew in multiple cancers, the same gene carries the heaviest mutation load in each cancer, and usually the second-ranked gene is also the same in each cancer. Our findings inspire the hypothesis that in certain cancers, heterogeneous combinations of genetic changes impair parts of the 2R-WGD signalling networks and force information flow through a limited set of oncogenic pathways in which specific non-mutated 2R-ohnologues serve as effectors. The non-mutated 2R-ohnologues are therefore potential therapeutic targets. These include proteins linked to growth factor signalling, neurotransmission and ion channels.

Shan S, Li Z, Newton IP, et al.
A novel protein extracted from foxtail millet bran displays anti-carcinogenic effects in human colon cancer cells.
Toxicol Lett. 2014; 227(2):129-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
Millet is an important cereal food and exhibits multiple biological activities, including immunodulatory, antioxidant, antifungal and anti-hyperglycemia effects. Herein, we describe a novel 35kDa protein with anti-cancer properties, named FMBP, which was extracted and purified from foxtail millet bran by cell-based screening. FMBP is highly homologous to peroxidase as revealed by mass spectrometry and gene sequencing analysis. Furthermore, in vivo anti-tumor results implicated that the novel protein FMBP had the ability to suppress xenografted tumor growth in nude mice. Mechanistically, FMBP is able to suppress colon cancer cell growth through induction of G1 phase arrest and also causes a loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential which results in caspase-dependent apoptosis in colon cancer cells. Notably, FMBP has much lower toxicity in normal colon epithelial cells. Taken together, FMBP has targeted anti-colon cancer effects and may serve as a therapeutic agent against colon cancer.

Liu Y, Nenutil R, Appleyard MV, et al.
Lack of correlation of stem cell markers in breast cancer stem cells.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 110(8):2063-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Various markers are used to identify the unique sub-population of breast cancer cells with stem cell properties. Whether these markers are expressed in all breast cancers, identify the same population of cells, or equate to therapeutic response is controversial.
METHODS: We investigated the expression of multiple cancer stem cell markers in human breast cancer samples and cell lines in vitro and in vivo, comparing across and within samples and relating expression with growth and therapeutic response to doxorubicin, docetaxol and radiotherapy.
RESULTS: CD24, CD44, ALDH and SOX2 expression, the ability to form mammospheres and side-population cells are variably present in human cancers and cell lines. Each marker identifies a unique rather than common population of cancer cells. In vivo, cells expressing these markers are not specifically localized to the presumptive stem cell niche at the tumour/stroma interface. Repeated therapy does not consistently enrich cells expressing these markers, although ER-negative cells accumulate.
CONCLUSIONS: Commonly employed methods identify different cancer cell sub-populations with no consistent therapeutic implications, rather than a single population of cells. The relationships of breast cancer stem cells to clinical parameters will require identification of specific markers or panels for the individual cancer.

Dayal JH, Cole CL, Pourreyron C, et al.
Type VII collagen regulates expression of OATP1B3, promotes front-to-rear polarity and increases structural organisation in 3D spheroid cultures of RDEB tumour keratinocytes.
J Cell Sci. 2014; 127(Pt 4):740-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
Type VII collagen is the main component of anchoring fibrils, structures that are integral to basement membrane homeostasis in skin. Mutations in the gene encoding type VII collagen COL7A1 cause recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) an inherited skin blistering condition complicated by frequent aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). OATP1B3, which is encoded by the gene SLCO1B3, is a member of the OATP (organic anion transporting polypeptide) superfamily responsible for transporting a wide range of endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. OATP1B3 expression is limited to the liver in healthy tissues, but is frequently detected in multiple cancer types and is reported to be associated with differing clinical outcome. The mechanism and functional significance of tumour-specific expression of OATP1B3 has yet to be determined. Here, we identify SLCO1B3 expression in tumour keratinocytes isolated from RDEB and UV-induced cSCC and demonstrate that SLCO1B3 expression and promoter activity are modulated by type VII collagen. We show that reduction of SLCO1B3 expression upon expression of full-length type VII collagen in RDEB cSCC coincides with acquisition of front-to-rear polarity and increased organisation of 3D spheroid cultures. In addition, we show that type VII collagen positively regulates the abundance of markers implicated in cellular polarity, namely ELMO2, PAR3, E-cadherin, B-catenin, ITGA6 and Ln332.

Lambert SR, Mladkova N, Gulati A, et al.
Key differences identified between actinic keratosis and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma by transcriptome profiling.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 110(2):520-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is one of the most common malignancies in fair-skinned populations worldwide and its incidence is increasing. Despite previous observations of multiple genetic abnormalities in cSCC, the oncogenic process remains elusive. The purpose of this study was to elucidate key molecular events associated with progression from premalignant actinic keratoses (AKs) to invasive cSCC by transcriptome profiling.
METHODS: We combined laser capture microdissection with the Affymetrix HGU133 Plus 2.0 microarrays to profile 30 cSCC and 10 AKs.
RESULTS: We identified a core set of 196 genes that are differentially expressed between AK and cSCC, and are enriched for processes including epidermal differentiation, cell migration, cell-cycle regulation and metabolism. Gene set enrichment analysis highlighted a key role for the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in cSCC compared with AK. Furthermore, the histological subtype of the tumour was shown to influence the expression profile.
CONCLUSION: These data indicate that the MAPK pathway may be pivotal to the transition from AK to cSCC, thus representing a potential target for cSCC prevention. In addition, transcriptome differences identified between cSCC subtypes have important implications for future development of targeted therapies for this malignancy.

Purdie CA, Quinlan P, Jordan LB, et al.
Progesterone receptor expression is an independent prognostic variable in early breast cancer: a population-based study.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 110(3):565-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Progesterone receptor (PR) expression assessment in early invasive breast cancer remains controversial. This study sought to re-evaluate PR expression as a potential therapeutic guide in early breast cancer; particularly in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive, lymph node (LN)-negative disease.
METHODS: A population cohort of 1074 patients presenting to a single Cancer Centre over 4 years (2000-2004) underwent surgery for primary invasive breast cancer with curative intent. Prospective data collection included patient demographics, pathology, ER and PR expression, HER2 status, adjuvant chemotherapy and endocrine therapy. Progesterone receptor expression was compared with (all causes) overall survival (OS), breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS) and disease-free survival (DFS).
RESULTS: Overall survival was 71.0% and BCSS was 83.0% at median follow-up of 8.34 years. Absent PR expression was significantly associated with poorer prognosis for OS, BCSS and DFS (P<0.0001, log-rank), even within the ER-positive, LN-negative group (hazard ratio for BCSS 3.17, 95% CI 1.43-7.01) and was not influenced by endocrine therapy. Cox's regression analysis demonstrated that PR expression was an independent prognostic variable.
CONCLUSION: Absence of PR expression is a powerful, independent prognostic variable in operable, primary breast cancer even in ER-positive, LN-negative patients receiving endocrine therapy. Absence of PR expression should be re-evaluated as a biomarker for poor prognosis in ER-positive breast cancer and such patients considered for additional systemic therapy.

Chiang YY, Chow KC, Lin TY, et al.
Hepatocyte growth factor and HER2/neu downregulate expression of apoptosis-inducing factor in non-small cell lung cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 31(2):597-604 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our previous study showed that patients with advanced stages of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were frequently detected with upregulation of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). In vitro, HGF reduced expression of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and cisplatin sensitivity in NSCLC cells. The effect of HGF was via HGF receptor (c-MET) and the downstream effector, focal adhesion kinase (FAK). In this study, we determined the prognostic value of AIF in NSCLC patients. AIF expression was determined by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Our data show that AIF expression was associated with better prognosis. Expression of AIF inversely correlated with that of positive NSCLC markers, e.g., dihydrodiol dehydrogenase (DDH), c-MET, short oncostatin M receptor (OSMRs), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, and HER2/neu, which were closely associated with drug resistance, tumor recurrence, metastasis and poor prognosis. Noteworthy, silence of HER2/neu gene expression increases AIF level and drug sensitivity. Addition of HGF inhibits AIF expression in HER2/neu-silenced cells. These results suggested that both HGF and HER2/neu affect drug resistance by regulating AIF expression in NSCLC.

Doherty D, Dvorkin SA, Rodriguez EP, Thompson PD
Vitamin D receptor agonist EB1089 is a potent regulator of prostatic "intracrine" metabolism.
Prostate. 2014; 74(3):273-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A contributing factor to the emergence of castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is the ability of the tumor to circumvent low circulating levels of testosterone during androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), through the production of "intracrine" tumoral androgens from precursors including cholesterol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). As these processes promote AR signaling and prostate cancer progression their modulation is required for disease prevention and treatment.
METHODS: We evaluated the involvement of the vitamin D receptor ligand EB1089 in the regulation of genes with a role in androgen metabolism using the androgen dependent cell lines LNCaP and LAPC-4. EB1089 regulation of androgen metabolism was assessed using QRT-PCR, luciferase promoter assays, western blotting, enzyme activity assays, and LC-MS analyses.
RESULTS: EB1089 induced significant expression of genes involved in androgen metabolism in prostate cancer cells. Real-Time PCR analysis revealed that VDR mediated significant regulation of CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP3A43, AKR1C1-3, UGT2B15/17, and HSD17B2. Data revealed potent regulation of CYP3A4 at the level of mRNA, protein expression and enzymatic activity, with VDR identified as the predominant regulator. Inhibition of CYP3A activity using the specific inhibitor ritonavir resulted in alleviation of the anti-proliferative response of VDR ligands in prostate cancer cells. Mass spectrometry revealed that overexpression of CYP3A protein in prostate cancer cells resulted in a significant increase in the oxidative inactivation of testosterone and DHEA to their 6-β-hydroxy-testosterone and 16-α-hydroxy-DHEA metabolites, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: These data highlight a potential application of VDR-based therapies for the reduction of growth-promoting androgens within the tumor micro-environment.

Smith PM, Elson JL, Greaves LC, et al.
The role of the mitochondrial ribosome in human disease: searching for mutations in 12S mitochondrial rRNA with high disruptive potential.
Hum Mol Genet. 2014; 23(4):949-67 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
Mutations of mitochondrial DNA are linked to many human diseases. Despite the identification of a large number of variants in the mitochondrially encoded rRNA (mt-rRNA) genes, the evidence supporting their pathogenicity is, at best, circumstantial. Establishing the pathogenicity of these variations is of major diagnostic importance. Here, we aim to estimate the disruptive effect of mt-rRNA variations on the function of the mitochondrial ribosome. In the absence of direct biochemical methods to study the effect of mt-rRNA variations, we relied on the universal conservation of the rRNA fold to infer their disruptive potential. Our method, named heterologous inferential analysis or HIA, combines conservational information with functional and structural data obtained from heterologous ribosomal sources. Thus, HIA's predictive power is superior to the traditional reliance on simple conservation indexes. By using HIA, we have been able to evaluate the disruptive potential for a subset of uncharacterized 12S mt-rRNA variations. Our analysis revealed the existence of variations in the rRNA component of the human mitoribosome with different degrees of disruptive power. In cases where sufficient information regarding the genetic and pathological manifestation of the mitochondrial phenotype is available, HIA data can be used to predict the pathogenicity of mt-rRNA mutations. In other cases, HIA analysis will allow the prioritization of variants for additional investigation. Eventually, HIA-inspired analysis of potentially pathogenic mt-rRNA variations, in the context of a scoring system specifically designed for these variants, could lead to a powerful diagnostic tool.

Ahn JM, Sung HJ, Yoon YH, et al.
Integrated glycoproteomics demonstrates fucosylated serum paraoxonase 1 alterations in small cell lung cancer.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2014; 13(1):30-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive type of lung cancer, and the detection of SCLCs at an early stage is necessary for successful therapy and for improving cancer survival rates. Fucosylation is one of the most common glycosylation-based modifications. Increased levels of fucosylation have been reported in a number of pathological conditions, including cancers. In this study, we aimed to identify and validate the aberrant and selective fucosylated glycoproteins in the sera of patients with SCLC. Fucosylated glycoproteins were enriched by the Aleuria aurantia lectin column after serum albumin and IgG depletion. In a narrowed down and comparative data analysis of both label-free proteomics and isobaric peptide-tagging chemistry iTRAQ approaches, the fucosylated glycoproteins were identified as up- or down-regulated in the sera of limited disease and extensive disease stage patients with SCLC. Verification was performed by multiple reaction monitoring-mass spectrometry to select reliable markers. Four fucosylated proteins, APCS, C9, SERPINA4, and PON1, were selected and subsequently validated by hybrid A. aurantia lectin ELISA (HLE) and Western blotting. Compared with Western blotting, the HLE analysis of these four proteins produced more optimal diagnostic values for SCLC. The PON1 protein levels were significantly reduced in the sera of patients with SCLC, whereas the fucosylation levels of PON1 were significantly increased. Fucosylated PON1 exhibited an area under curve of 0.91 for the extensive disease stage by HLE, whereas the PON1 protein levels produced an area under curve of 0.82 by Western blot. The glycan structural analysis of PON1 by MS/MS identified a biantennary fucosylated glycan modification consisting of a core + 2HexNAc + 1Fuc at increased levels in the sera of patients with SCLC. In addition, the PON1 levels were decreased in the sera of the Lewis lung carcinoma lung cancer mouse model that we examined. Our data suggest that fucosylated protein biomarkers, such as PON1, and their fucosylation levels and patterns can serve as diagnostic and prognostic serological markers for SCLC.

Chen CC, Chu CB, Liu KJ, et al.
Gene expression profiling for analysis acquired oxaliplatin resistant factors in human gastric carcinoma TSGH-S3 cells: the role of IL-6 signaling and Nrf2/AKR1C axis identification.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 86(7):872-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
Oxaliplatin treatment is a mainstay of treatment for advanced gastrointestinal tract cancer, but the underlying mechanisms of acquired oxaliplatin resistance remain largely obscured. We previously demonstrated that increased DNA repair capacity and copper-transporting ATPase 1 (ATP7A) level contributed to oxaliplatin resistance in the human gastric carcinoma cell line TSGH-S3 (S3). In the present study, we applied gene array technology to identify additional resistance factors in S3 cells. We found that interleukin-6 (IL-6), aldo-keto reductase 1C1 (AKR1C1), and AKR1C3 are the top 3 upregulated genes in S3 cells when compared with parent TSGH cells. Despite a higher level of endogenous IL-6 in S3, IL-6 receptor (IR-6R, gp-80, and gp-130) levels were similar between TSGH and S3 cells. The addition of exogenous IL-6, IL-6 targeted siRNA, or neutralizing antibodies neither affected Stat3 activation, a downstream target of IL-6, nor changed oxaliplatin sensitivity in S3 cells. However, manipulation of AKR1C activity with siRNA or AKR1C inhibitors significantly reversed oxaliplatin resistance. AKR1Cs are classical antioxidant response element (ARE) genes that can be transcriptionally upregulated by nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Knockdown of Nrf2 not only decreased the levels of AKR1C1, AKR1C2, and AKR1C3 mRNA and protein but also reversed oxaliplatin resistance in S3 cells. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of the Nrf2/AKR1C axis may contribute to oxaliplatin resistance in S3 cells but that the IL-6 signaling pathway did not contribute to resistance. Manipulation of Nrf2/AKR1Cs activity may be useful for management of oxaliplatin-refractory gastric cancers.

Hur H, Lee JY, Yun HJ, et al.
Analysis of HOX gene expression patterns in human breast cancer.
Mol Biotechnol. 2014; 56(1):64-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
HOX genes are highly conserved transcription factors that determine the identity of cells and tissues along the anterior-posterior body axis in developing embryos. Aberrations in HOX gene expression have been shown in various tumors. However, the correlation of HOX gene expression patterns with tumorigenesis and cancer progression has not been fully characterized. Here, to analyze putative candidate HOX genes involved in breast cancer tumorigenesis and progression, the expression patterns of 39 HOX genes were analyzed using breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived breast tissues. In vitro analysis revealed that HOXA and HOXB gene expression occurred in a subtype-specific manner in breast cancer cell lines, whereas most HOXC genes were strongly expressed in most cell lines. Among the 39 HOX genes analyzed, 25 were chosen for further analysis in malignant and non-malignant tissues. Fourteen genes, encoding HOXA6, A13, B2, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, C5, C9, C13, D1, and D8, out of 25 showed statistically significant differential expression patterns between non-malignant and malignant breast tissues and are putative candidates associated with the development and malignant progression of breast cancer. Our data provide a valuable resource for furthering our understanding of HOX gene expression in breast cancer and the possible involvement of HOX genes in tumor progression.

Jung KA, Kwak MK
Enhanced 4-hydroxynonenal resistance in KEAP1 silenced human colon cancer cells.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013; 2013:423965 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) is the transcription factor that regulates an array of antioxidant/detoxifying genes for cellular defense. The conformational changes of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1), a cytosolic repressor protein of NRF2, by various stimuli result in NRF2 liberation and accumulation in the nucleus. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of KEAP1 knockdown on NRF2 target gene expression and its toxicological implication using human colon cancer cells. The stable KEAP1-knockdown HT29 cells exhibit elevated levels of NRF2 and its target gene expressions. In particular, the mRNA levels of aldo-keto reductases (AKR1C1, 1C2, 1C3, 1B1, and 1B10) were substantially increased in KEAP1 silenced HT29 cells. These differential AKRs expressions appear to contribute to protection against oxidative stress. The KEAP1-knockdown cells were relatively more resistant to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) compared to the control cells. Accordantly, we observed accumulation of 4HNE protein adducts in H2O2- or 4HNE-treated control cells, whereas KEAP1-knockdown cells did not increase adduct formation. The treatment of KEAP1-silenced cells with AKR1C inhibitor flufenamic acid increased 4HNE-induced cellular toxicity and protein adduct formation. Taken together, these results indicate that AKRs, which are NRF2-dependent highly inducible gene clusters, play a role in NRF2-mediated cytoprotection against lipid peroxide toxicity.

Sommer EM, Dry H, Cross D, et al.
Elevated SGK1 predicts resistance of breast cancer cells to Akt inhibitors.
Biochem J. 2013; 452(3):499-508 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
The majority of human cancers harbour mutations promoting activation of the Akt protein kinase, and Akt inhibitors are being evaluated in clinical trials. An important question concerns the understanding of the innate mechanisms that confer resistance of tumour cells to Akt inhibitors. SGK (serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase) is closely related to Akt and controlled by identical upstream regulators {PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase), PDK1 (phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1) and mTORC2 [mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) complex 2]}. Mutations that trigger activation of Akt would also stimulate SGK. Moreover, Akt and SGK possess analogous substrate specificities and are likely to phosphorylate overlapping substrates to promote proliferation. To investigate whether cancers possessing high SGK activity could possess innate resistance to Akt-specific inhibitors (that do not target SGK), we analysed SGK levels and sensitivity of a panel of breast cancer cells towards two distinct Akt inhibitors currently in clinical trials (AZD5363 and MK-2206). This revealed a number of Akt-inhibitor-resistant lines displaying markedly elevated SGK1 that also exhibited significant phosphorylation of the SGK1 substrate NDRG1 [N-Myc (neuroblastoma-derived Myc) downstream-regulated gene 1]. In contrast, most Akt-inhibitor-sensitive cell lines displayed low/undetectable levels of SGK1. Intriguingly, despite low SGK1 levels, several Akt-inhibitor-sensitive cells showed marked NDRG1 phosphorylation that was, unlike in the resistant cells, suppressed by Akt inhibitors. SGK1 knockdown markedly reduced proliferation of Akt-inhibitor-resistant, but not -sensitive, cells. Furthermore, treatment of Akt-inhibitor-resistant cells with an mTOR inhibitor suppressed proliferation and led to inhibition of SGK1. The results of the present study suggest that monitoring SGK1 levels as well as responses of NDRG1 phosphorylation to Akt inhibitor administration could have a use in predicting the sensitivity of tumours to compounds that target Akt. Our findings highlight the therapeutic potential that SGK inhibitors or dual Akt/SGK inhibitors might have for treatment of cancers displaying elevated SGK activity.

Kocak H, Ackermann S, Hero B, et al.
Hox-C9 activates the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis and is associated with spontaneous regression in neuroblastoma.
Cell Death Dis. 2013; 4:e586 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 08/08/2015 Related Publications
Neuroblastoma is an embryonal malignancy of the sympathetic nervous system. Spontaneous regression and differentiation of neuroblastoma is observed in a subset of patients, and has been suggested to represent delayed activation of physiologic molecular programs of fetal neuroblasts. Homeobox genes constitute an important family of transcription factors, which play a fundamental role in morphogenesis and cell differentiation during embryogenesis. In this study, we demonstrate that expression of the majority of the human HOX class I homeobox genes is significantly associated with clinical covariates in neuroblastoma using microarray expression data of 649 primary tumors. Moreover, a HOX gene expression-based classifier predicted neuroblastoma patient outcome independently of age, stage and MYCN amplification status. Among all HOX genes, HOXC9 expression was most prominently associated with favorable prognostic markers. Most notably, elevated HOXC9 expression was significantly associated with spontaneous regression in infant neuroblastoma. Re-expression of HOXC9 in three neuroblastoma cell lines led to a significant reduction in cell viability, and abrogated tumor growth almost completely in neuroblastoma xenografts. Neuroblastoma growth arrest was related to the induction of programmed cell death, as indicated by an increase in the sub-G1 fraction and translocation of phosphatidylserine to the outer membrane. Programmed cell death was associated with the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria into the cytosol and activation of the intrinsic cascade of caspases, indicating that HOXC9 re-expression triggers the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Collectively, our results show a strong prognostic impact of HOX gene expression in neuroblastoma, and may point towards a role of Hox-C9 in neuroblastoma spontaneous regression.

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