Gene Summary

Gene:AKR1C3; aldo-keto reductase family 1, member C3
Aliases: DD3, DDX, PGFS, HAKRB, HAKRe, HA1753, HSD17B5, hluPGFS
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the aldo/keto reductase superfamily, which consists of more than 40 known enzymes and proteins. These enzymes catalyze the conversion of aldehydes and ketones to their corresponding alcohols by utilizing NADH and/or NADPH as cofactors. The enzymes display overlapping but distinct substrate specificity. This enzyme catalyzes the reduction of prostaglandin (PG) D2, PGH2 and phenanthrenequinone (PQ), and the oxidation of 9alpha,11beta-PGF2 to PGD2. It may play an important role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases such as asthma, and may also have a role in controlling cell growth and/or differentiation. This gene shares high sequence identity with three other gene members and is clustered with those three genes at chromosome 10p15-p14. Three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


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 (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.

  • Androgens
  • Stem Cells
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testosterone
  • Messenger RNA
  • Racemases and Epimerases
  • Aldehyde Reductase
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Androgen Receptors
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Chromosome 10
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase
  • p53 Protein
  • Genotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Promoter Regions
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Gene Expression
  • Washington
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Breast Cancer
  • Estradiol Dehydrogenases
  • Case-Control Studies
  • 20-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Estrogens
  • Risk Factors
  • Progesterone
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance
  • Tumor Burden
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Heckmann D, Maier P, Laufs S, et al.
The disparate twins: a comparative study of CXCR4 and CXCR7 in SDF-1α-induced gene expression, invasion and chemosensitivity of colon cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(3):604-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: In colorectal cancer, increased expression of the CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) has been shown to provoke metastatic disease due to the interaction with its ligand stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1). Recently, a second SDF-1 receptor, CXCR7, was found to enhance tumor growth in solid tumors. Albeit signaling cascades via SDF-1/CXCR4 have been intensively studied, the significance of the SDF-1/CXCR7-induced intracellular communication triggering malignancy is still only marginally understood.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In tumor tissue of 52 patients with colorectal cancer, we observed that expression of CXCR7 and CXCR4 increased with tumor stage and tumor size. Asking whether activation of CXCR4 or CXCR7 might result in a similar expression pattern, we performed microarray expression analyses using lentivirally CXCR4- and/or CXCR7-overexpressing SW480 colon cancer cell lines with and without stimulation by SDF-1α.
RESULTS: Gene regulation via SDF-1α/CXCR4 and SDF-1α/CXCR7 was completely different and partly antidromic. Differentially regulated genes were assigned by gene ontology to migration, proliferation, and lipid metabolic processes. Expressions of AKR1C3, AXL, C5, IGFBP7, IL24, RRAS, and TNNC1 were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Using the in silico gene set enrichment analysis, we showed that expressions of miR-217 and miR-218 were increased in CXCR4 and reduced in CXCR7 cells after stimulation with SDF-1α. Functionally, exposure to SDF-1α increased invasiveness of CXCR4 and CXCR7 cells, AXL knockdown hampered invasion. Compared with controls, CXCR4 cells showed increased sensitivity against 5-FU, whereas CXCR7 cells were more chemoresistant.
CONCLUSIONS: These opposing results for CXCR4- or CXCR7-overexpressing colon carcinoma cells demand an unexpected attention in the clinical application of chemokine receptor antagonists such as plerixafor.

Jernberg E, Thysell E, Bovinder Ylitalo E, et al.
Characterization of prostate cancer bone metastases according to expression levels of steroidogenic enzymes and androgen receptor splice variants.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e77407 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Intra-tumoral steroidogenesis and constitutive androgen receptor (AR) activity have been associated with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). This study aimed to examine if CRPC bone metastases expressed higher levels of steroid-converting enzymes than untreated bone metastases. Steroidogenic enzyme levels were also analyzed in relation to expression of constitutively active AR variants (AR-Vs) and to clinical and pathological variables.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Untreated, hormone-naïve (HN, n = 9) and CRPC bone metastases samples (n = 45) were obtained from 54 patients at metastasis surgery. Non-malignant and malignant prostate samples were acquired from 13 prostatectomy specimens. Transcript and protein levels were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. No differences in steroidogenic enzyme levels were detected between CRPC and HN bone metastases. Significantly higher levels of SRD5A1, AKR1C2, AKR1C3, and HSD17B10 mRNA were however found in bone metastases than in non-malignant and/or malignant prostate tissue, while the CYP11A1, CYP17A1, HSD3B2, SRD5A2, and HSD17B6 mRNA levels in metastases were significantly lower. A sub-group of metastases expressed very high levels of AKR1C3, which was not due to gene amplification as examined by copy number variation assay. No association was found between AKR1C3 expression and nuclear AR staining, tumor cell proliferation or patient outcome after metastases surgery. With only one exception, high AR-V protein levels were found in bone metastases with low AKR1C3 levels, while metastases with high AKR1C3 levels primarily contained low AR-V levels, indicating distinct mechanisms behind castration-resistance in individual bone metastases.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Induced capacity of converting adrenal-gland derived steroids into more potent androgens was indicated in a sub-group of PC bone metastases. This was not associated with CRPC but merely with the advanced stage of metastasis. Sub-groups of bone metastases could be identified according to their expression levels of AKR1C3 and AR-Vs, which might be of relevance for patient response to 2(nd) line androgen-deprivation therapy.

Moy I, Lin Z, Rademaker AW, et al.
Expression of estrogen-related gene markers in breast cancer tissue predicts aromatase inhibitor responsiveness.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e77543 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the most effective class of drugs in the endocrine treatment of breast cancer, with an approximate 50% treatment response rate. Our objective was to determine whether intratumoral expression levels of estrogen-related genes are predictive of AI responsiveness in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Primary breast carcinomas were obtained from 112 women who received AI therapy after failing adjuvant tamoxifen therapy and developing recurrent breast cancer. Tumor ERα and PR protein expression were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of 5 estrogen-related genes-AKR1C3, aromatase, ERα, and 2 estradiol/ERα target genes, BRCA1 and PR-were measured by real-time PCR. Tumor protein and mRNA levels were compared with breast cancer progression rates to determine predictive accuracy. Responsiveness to AI therapy-defined as the combined complete response, partial response, and stable disease rates for at least 6 months-was 51%; rates were 56% in ERα-IHC-positive and 14% in ERα-IHC-negative tumors. Levels of ERα, PR, or BRCA1 mRNA were independently predictive for responsiveness to AI. In cross-validated analyses, a combined measurement of tumor ERα and PR mRNA levels yielded a more superior specificity (36%) and identical sensitivity (96%) to the current clinical practice (ERα/PR-IHC). In patients with ERα/PR-IHC-negative tumors, analysis of mRNA expression revealed either non-significant trends or statistically significant positive predictive values for AI responsiveness. In conclusion, expression levels of estrogen-related mRNAs are predictive for AI responsiveness in postmenopausal women with breast cancer, and mRNA expression analysis may improve patient selection.

Yepuru M, Wu Z, Kulkarni A, et al.
Steroidogenic enzyme AKR1C3 is a novel androgen receptor-selective coactivator that promotes prostate cancer growth.
Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 19(20):5613-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) may occur by several mechanisms including the upregulation of androgen receptor (AR), coactivators, and steroidogenic enzymes, including aldo keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3). AKR1C3 converts weaker 17-keto androgenic precursors to more potent 17-hydroxy androgens and is consistently the major upregulated gene in CRPC. The studies in the manuscript were undertaken to examine the role of AKR1C3 in AR function and CRPC.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: LNCaP cells stably transfected with AKR1C3 and VCaP cells endogenously expressing AKR1C3 were used to understand the effect of AKR1C3 on prostate cancer cell and tumor growth in nude mice. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, confocal microscopy, and co-immunoprecipitation studies were used to understand the recruitment of AKR1C3, intracellular localization of AKR1C3 and its interaction with AR in cells, tumor xenograft, and in Gleason sum 7 CRPC tissues. Cells were transiently transfected for AR transactivation. Novel small-molecule AKR1C3-selective inhibitors were synthesized and characterized in androgen-dependent prostate cancer and CRPC models.
RESULTS: We identified unique AR-selective coactivator- and prostate cancer growth-promoting roles for AKR1C3. AKR1C3 overexpression promotes the growth of both androgen-dependent prostate cancer and CRPC xenografts, with concomitant reactivation of androgen signaling. AKR1C3 interacted with AR in prostate cancer cells, xenografts, and in human CRPC samples and was recruited to the promoter of an androgen-responsive gene. The coactivator and growth-promoting functions of AKR1C3 were inhibited by an AKR1C3-selective competitive inhibitor.
CONCLUSIONS: AKR1C3 is a novel AR-selective enzymatic coactivator and may represent the first of more than 200 known nuclear hormone receptor coactivators that can be pharmacologically targeted.

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.

Seo YK, Mirkheshti N, Song CS, et al.
SULT2B1b sulfotransferase: induction by vitamin D receptor and reduced expression in prostate cancer.
Mol Endocrinol. 2013; 27(6):925-39 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
An elevated tumor tissue androgen level, which reactivates androgen receptor in recurrent prostate cancer, arises from the intratumor synthesis of 5α-dihydrotestosterone through use of the precursor steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and is fueled by the steroidogenic enzymes 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD1), aldoketoreductase (AKR1C3), and steroid 5-alpha reductase, type 1 (SRD5A1) present in cancer tissue. Sulfotransferase 2B1b (SULT2B1b) (in short, SULT2B) is a prostate-expressed hydroxysteroid SULT that converts cholesterol, oxysterols, and DHEA to 3β-sulfates. DHEA metabolism involving sulfonation by SULT2B can potentially interfere with intraprostate androgen synthesis due to reduction of free DHEA pool and, thus, conversion of DHEA to androstenedione. Here we report that in prostatectomy specimens from treatment-naive patients, SULT2B expression is markedly reduced in malignant tissue (P < .001, Mann-Whitney U test) compared with robust expression in adjacent nonmalignant glands. SULT2B was detected in formalin-fixed specimens by immunohistochemistry on individual sections and tissue array. Immunoblotting of protein lysates of frozen cancer and matched benign tissue confirmed immunohistochemistry results. An in-house-developed rabbit polyclonal antibody against full-length human SULT2B was validated for specificity and used in the analyses. Ligand-activated vitamin D receptor induced the SULT2B1 promoter in vivo in mouse prostate and increased SULT2B mRNA and protein levels in vitro in prostate cancer cells. A vitamin D receptor/retinoid X receptor-α-bound DNA element (with a DR7 motif) mediated induction of the transfected SULT2B1 promoter in calcitriol-treated cells. SULT2B knockdown caused an increased proliferation rate of prostate cancer cells upon stimulation by DHEA. These results suggest that the tumor tissue SULT2B level may partly control prostate cancer growth, and its induction in a therapeutic setting may inhibit disease progression.

Shahdoust M, Hajizadeh E, Mozdarani H, Chehrei A
Finding genes discriminating smokers from non-smokers by applying a growing self-organizing clustering method to large airway epithelium cell microarray data.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013; 14(1):111-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is the major risk factor for development of lung cancer. Identification of effects of tobacco on airway gene expression may provide insight into the causes. This research aimed to compare gene expression of large airway epithelium cells in normal smokers (n=13) and non-smokers (n=9) in order to find genes which discriminate the two groups and assess cigarette smoking effects on large airway epithelium cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Genes discriminating smokers from non-smokers were identified by applying a neural network clustering method, growing self-organizing maps (GSOM), to microarray data according to class discrimination scores. An index was computed based on differentiation between each mean of gene expression in the two groups. This clustering approach provided the possibility of comparing thousands of genes simultaneously.
RESULTS: The applied approach compared the mean of 7,129 genes in smokers and non-smokers simultaneously and classified the genes of large airway epithelium cells which had differently expressed in smokers comparing with non-smokers. Seven genes were identified which had the highest different expression in smokers compared with the non-smokers group: NQO1, H19, ALDH3A1, AKR1C1, ABHD2, GPX2 and ADH7. Most (NQO1, ALDH3A1, AKR1C1, H19 and GPX2) are known to be clinically notable in lung cancer studies. Furthermore, statistical discriminate analysis showed that these genes could classify samples in smokers and non-smokers correctly with 100% accuracy. With the performed GSOM map, other nodes with high average discriminate scores included genes with alterations strongly related to the lung cancer such as AKR1C3, CYP1B1, UCHL1 and AKR1B10.
CONCLUSIONS: This clustering by comparing expression of thousands of genes at the same time revealed alteration in normal smokers. Most of the identified genes were strongly relevant to lung cancer in the existing literature. The genes may be utilized to identify smokers with increased risk for lung cancer. A large sample study is now recommended to determine relations between the genes ABHD2 and ADH7 and smoking.

Xie L, Yu J, Guo W, et al.
Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 may be a new radioresistance marker in non-small-cell lung cancer.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2013; 20(4):260-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human aldo-keto reductase 1C3, type 2 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD)/type 5 17β-HSD (AKR1C3) is known to be involved in steroid, prostaglandin and lipid aldehyde metabolism. The role of AKR1C3 in the radiosensitivity to X-rays of human non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells was explored. In this study, a specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) to target the AKR1C3 gene was used. A suite of readouts including cell survival were determined using a colony formation assay; apoptosis evaluated by Annexin V expression levels, irradiation-induced cytotoxicity established using a MTT cell viability assay and cell cycle distribution measured by flow cytometry were used in characterizing the role of the AKR1C3 gene. Although AKR1C3 was significantly overexpressed in both our radioresistant subclone cells and NSCLC tissues, a specific AKR1C3 siRNA significantly enhanced cell radiosensitivity and was concomitant with decreased expression of this gene. Furthermore, reduced interleukin-6 (IL-6)-mediated radioresistance was observed when siRNA was used to knock down AKR1C3 activity. This AKR1C3-mediated radioresistance was correlated with an arrest in the G2/M cell cycle and a decreased induction of apoptosis. AKR1C3 may present a potential therapeutic target in addressing radioresistance of NSCLC, and in particular in IL-6-mediated radioresistance.

Huebbers CU, Preuss SF, Kolligs J, et al.
Integration of HPV6 and downregulation of AKR1C3 expression mark malignant transformation in a patient with juvenile-onset laryngeal papillomatosis.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e57207 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is associated with low risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11. Malignant transformation has been reported solely for HPV11-associated RRP in 2-4% of all RRP-cases, but not for HPV6. The molecular mechanisms in the carcinogenesis of low risk HPV-associated cancers are to date unknown. We report of a female patient, who presented with a laryngeal carcinoma at the age of 24 years. She had a history of juvenile-onset RRP with an onset at the age of three and subsequently several hundred surgical interventions due to multiple recurrences of RRP. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or bead-based hybridization followed by direct sequencing identified HPV6 in tissue sections of previous papilloma and the carcinoma. P16(INK4A), p53 and pRb immunostainings were negative in all lesions. HPV6 specific fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) revealed nuclear staining suggesting episomal virus in the papilloma and a single integration site in the carcinoma. Integration-specific amplification of papillomavirus oncogene transcripts PCR (APOT-PCR) showed integration in the aldo-keto reductase 1C3 gene (AKR1C3) on chromosome 10p15.1. ArrayCGH detected loss of the other gene copy as part of a deletion at 10p14-p15.2. Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry of the protein AKR1C3 showed a marked reduction of its expression in the carcinoma. In conclusion, we identified a novel molecular mechanism underlying a first case of HPV6-associated laryngeal carcinoma in juvenile-onset RRP, i.e. that HPV6 integration in the AKR1C3 gene resulted in loss of its expression. Alterations of AKR1C gene expression have previously been implicated in the tumorigenesis of other (HPV-related) malignancies.

Liedtke AJ, Adeniji AO, Chen M, et al.
Development of potent and selective indomethacin analogues for the inhibition of AKR1C3 (Type 5 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/prostaglandin F synthase) in castrate-resistant prostate cancer.
J Med Chem. 2013; 56(6):2429-46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is a fatal, metastatic form of prostate cancer. CRPC is characterized by reactivation of the androgen axis due to changes in androgen receptor signaling and/or adaptive intratumoral androgen biosynthesis. AKR1C3 is upregulated in CRPC where it catalyzes the formation of potent androgens. This makes AKR1C3 a target for the treatment of CRPC. AKR1C3 inhibitors should not inhibit AKR1C1/AKR1C2, which inactivate 5α-dihydrotestosterone. Indomethacin, used to inhibit cyclooxygenase, also inhibits AKR1C3 and displays selectivity over AKR1C1/AKR1C2. Parallel synthetic strategies were used to generate libraries of indomethacin analogues, which exhibit reduced cyclooxygenase inhibitory activity but retain AKR1C3 inhibitory potency and selectivity. The lead compounds inhibited AKR1C3 with nanomolar potency, displayed >100-fold selectivity over AKR1C1/AKR1C2, and blocked testosterone formation in LNCaP-AKR1C3 cells. The AKR1C3·NADP(+)·2'-des-methyl-indomethacin crystal structure was determined, and it revealed a unique inhibitor binding mode. The compounds reported are promising agents for the development of therapeutics for CRPC.

Li H, Narahara H
15-Deoxy-Δ(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) induces growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human endometrial cancer cell lines.
Int J Mol Med. 2013; 31(4):778-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
15-Deoxy-∆(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) (15d-PGJ(2)), a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ ligand, has been reported to have antiproliferative activity in certain types of cancer. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the effect of 15d-PGJ(2) on endometrial cancer cells, as well as the mechanism of action. Endometrial cancer-derived cells (HHUA, Ishikawa and HEC-59) were treated with various concentrations of 15d-PGJ(2), and its effects on cell growth, the cell cycle and apoptosis were investigated in vitro. Using cDNA microarrays, some potential targets of this drug were identified. All endometrial cancer cell lines were sensitive to the growth-inhibitory effect of 15d-PGJ(2). Cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase of the cell cycle and induction of apoptosis were observed. Concerning the gene expression changes induced by 15d-PGJ(2) treatment, the upregulation of aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 (AKR1C3) and the downregulation of anterior gradient homolog 3 (AGR3) and nitric oxide synthase 2A (NOS2A) were confirmed using western blot analysis in all the cell lines examined. These results suggest that 15d-PGJ(2) may be a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of endometrial cancer.

Yu CC, Huang SP, Lee YC, et al.
Molecular markers in sex hormone pathway genes associated with the efficacy of androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e54627 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although most advanced prostate cancer patients respond to androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT), the efficacy is widely variable. We investigated whether the host genetic variations in sex hormone pathway genes are associated with the efficacy of ADT. A cohort of 645 patients with advanced prostate cancer treated with ADT was genotyped for 18 polymorphisms across 12 key genes involved in androgen and estrogen metabolism. We found that after adjusting for known risk factors in multivariate Cox regression models, AKR1C3 rs12529 and AR-CAG repeat length remained significantly associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM) after ADT (P ≤ 0.041). Furthermore, individuals carrying two unfavorable genotypes at these loci presented a 13.7-fold increased risk of PCSM compared with individuals carrying zero (P<0.001). Our results identify two candidate molecular markers in key genes of androgen and estrogen pathways associated with PCSM after ADT, establishing the role of pharmacogenomics in this therapy.

Arai S, Shibata Y, Nakamura Y, et al.
Development of prostate cancer in a patient with primary hypogonadism: intratumoural steroidogenesis in prostate cancer tissues.
Andrology. 2013; 1(1):169-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Intratumoural steroidogenesis may play a significant role in the progression of prostate cancer (PC) in the context of long-term ablation of circulating testosterone (T). To clarify the mechanism accounting for the progression of PC in a 74-year-old man who had undergone bilateral orchiectomy when he was 5 years old, we performed immunohistochemical studies of androgen receptor (AR) and steroidogenic enzymes in the prostate. We also measured steroid hormone levels in the serum and prostate, as well as mRNA levels of genes mediating androgen metabolism in the prostate. Positive nuclear staining of AR was detected in malignant epithelial cells. The levels of androstenedione (Adione), T, and 5-alpha dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the serum of the patient were similar to those in PC patients receiving neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), but were higher in the patient's prostate than in PC patients not receiving ADT. The gene expression of CYP17A1 and HSD3B1 was not detected, whereas that of STS, HSD3B2, AKR1C3, SRD5A1, and SRD5A2 was detected. Moreover, cytoplasmic staining of HSD3B2, AKR1C3, SRD5A1, and SRD5A2 was detected in malignant epithelial cells. Hence, in the present case (a man with primary hypogonadism), steroidogenesis in PC tissues from adrenal androgens, especially dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, was the mechanism accounting for progression of PC. This mechanism might help elucidate the development of castration-resistant PC.

Sinreih M, Hevir N, Rižner TL
Altered expression of genes involved in progesterone biosynthesis, metabolism and action in endometrial cancer.
Chem Biol Interact. 2013; 202(1-3):210-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometrial cancer (EC) is one of the most common gynecological malignancies worldwide. It is associated with prolonged exposure to estrogens that is unopposed by the protective effects of progesterone, which suggests that altered progesterone biosynthesis, metabolism and actions might be implicated in the development of EC. Our aim was to evaluate these processes through quantitative real-time PCR expression analysis in up to 47 pairs of EC tissue and adjacent control endometrium. First, we examined the expression of genes encoding proteins associated with progesterone biosynthesis: steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR); a side chain cleavage enzyme (CYP11A1); and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/ketosteroid isomerase (HSD3B). There were 1.9- and 10.0-fold decreased expression of STAR and CYP11A1, respectively, in EC versus adjacent control endometrium, with no significant differences in the expression of HSD3B1 and HSD3B2. Next, we examined expression of genes encoding five progesterone metabolizing enzymes: the 3-keto and 20-ketosteroid reductases (AKR1C1-AKR1C3) and 5α-reductases (SRD5A1 and SRD5A2); and the opposing 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD17B2). These genes are expressed in EC and adjacent control endometrium. No statistically significant differences were seen in mRNA levels of AKR1C1, AKR1C2, AKR1C3 and SRD5A1. Expression of HSD17B2 was 3.0-fold increased, and expression of SRD5A2 was 3.7-fold decreased, in EC versus adjacent control endometrium. We also examined mRNA levels of progesterone receptors A and B (PGR), and separately the expression of progesterone receptor B (PR-B). Here we saw 1.8- and 2.0-fold lower mRNA levels of PGR and PR-B, respectively, in EC versus adjacent control endometrium. This down-regulation of STAR, CYP11A1 and PGR in endometrial cancer may lead to decreased progesterone biosynthesis and actions although the effects on progesterone levels should be further studied.

Voon PJ, Yap HL, Ma CY, et al.
Correlation of aldo-ketoreductase (AKR) 1C3 genetic variant with doxorubicin pharmacodynamics in Asian breast cancer patients.
Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013; 75(6):1497-505 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIMS: Aldo-ketoreductases have been implicated in the metabolism of doxorubicin. We sought to assess the influence of AKR1C3 genetic variants on doxorubicin metabolism.
METHODS: We sequenced AKR1C3 exon 5 and genotyped seven functional single nucleotide polymorphisms in CBR3, ABCB1 and SLC22A16 involved in doxorubicin pharmacology in 151 Asian breast cancer patients treated with doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy, and correlated these genotypes with doxorubicin pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
RESULTS: Two previously reported AKR1C3 intronic variants, IVS4-212 C>G and IVS4+218 G>A, were detected. The AKR1C3 IVS4-212 GG genotype was associated with significantly lower cycle 1 day 15 leucocyte (mean leucocytes 2.49 ± 1.57 × 10(9) vs. 3.85 ± 3.42 × 10(9) l(-1) , P = 0.007) and neutrophil counts (mean neutrophils 0.70 ± 1.01 × 10(9) vs. 1.56 ± 2.80 × 10(9) l(-1) , P = 0.008) and significant improvement of progression-free survival [PFS, mean PFS 49.0 (95% confidence interval 42.2-55.8) vs. 31.0 (95% confidence interval 20.7-41.2) months, P = 0.017] and overall survival [OS; mean OS 64.4 (95% confidence interval 58.3-70.5) vs. 46.3 (95% confidence interval 35.1-57.5) months, P = 0.006] compared with those carrying at least one C allele. There was no significant association between AKR1C3 IVS4-212 C>G and doxorubicin pharmacokinetics. Of the other seven single nucleotide polymorphisms genotyped, CBR3 G11A correlated with doxorubicinol area under the concentration-time curve and OS, ABCB1 G2677T/A correlated with doxorubicin clearance and platelet toxicity, while ABCB1 IVS26+59 T>G correlated with OS. The AKR1C3 IVS4-212 CCONCLUSIONS: The AKR1C3 IVS4-212 GG genotype was associated with greater haematological toxicity and longer progression-free survival and overall survival after doxorubicin-based therapy, suggesting potential interaction of this variant with doxorubicin metabolism.

Hofland J, van Weerden WM, Steenbergen J, et al.
Activin A stimulates AKR1C3 expression and growth in human prostate cancer.
Endocrinology. 2012; 153(12):5726-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Local androgen synthesis in prostate cancer (PC) may contribute to the development of castration-resistant PC (CRPC), but pathways controlling intratumoral steroidogenic enzyme expression in PC are unknown. We investigated the effects of activin, a factor involved in the regulation of PC growth and steroidogenic enzyme expression in other steroidogenic tissues, on intratumoral steroidogenesis in PC. Activin A effects and regulation of the activin-signaling pathway molecules were studied in the PC cell lines LNCaP, VCaP, and PC-3 and in 13 individual PC xenograft models. Also, expression levels of inhibin βA- and βB-subunits (INHBA and INHBB) and of the activin antagonist follistatin were quantitated in patient PC tissues. Activin A induced the expression and enzyme activity of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme AKR1C3 in LNCaP and VCaP cells. Inhibition of endogenous activin A action in the PC-3 cell line decreased AKR1C3 levels and consequently testosterone synthesis. In return, androgens suppressed INHBA expression in both VCaP cells and the PC xenograft models. The antiproliferative effects of activin A were opposed by physiological concentrations of androstenedione in LNCaP cells. In patient PC tissues, expression levels of INHBA were increased in CRPC samples and correlated with AKR1C3 levels. Moreover, a high ratio of activin subunits to follistatin was associated with a worse metastasis-free survival in patients. In conclusion, activin A is controlled by androgens in PC models and regulates local androgen production. Activin A thus seems to mediate (residual) intratumoral androgen levels and could form a novel therapeutic target in CRPC.

Mitsiades N, Sung CC, Schultz N, et al.
Distinct patterns of dysregulated expression of enzymes involved in androgen synthesis and metabolism in metastatic prostate cancer tumors.
Cancer Res. 2012; 72(23):6142-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Androgen receptor (AR) signaling persists in castration-resistant prostate carcinomas (CRPC), because of several mechanisms that include increased AR expression and intratumoral androgen metabolism. We investigated the mechanisms underlying aberrant expression of transcripts involved in androgen metabolism in CRPC. We compared gene expression profiles and DNA copy number alteration (CNA) data from 29 normal prostate tissue samples, 127 primary prostate carcinomas (PCa), and 19 metastatic PCas. Steroidogenic enzyme transcripts were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR in PCa cell lines and circulating tumor cells (CTC) from CRPC patients. Metastatic PCas expressed higher transcript levels for AR and several steroidogenic enzymes, including SRD5A1, SRD5A3, and AKR1C3, whereas expression of SRD5A2, CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP3A7 was decreased. This aberrant expression was rarely associated with CNAs. Instead, our data suggest distinct patterns of coordinated aberrant enzyme expression. Inhibition of AR activity by itself stimulated AKR1C3 expression. The aberrant expression of the steroidogenic enzyme transcripts was detected in CTCs from CRPC patients. In conclusion, our findings identify substantial interpatient heterogeneity and distinct patterns of dysregulated expression of enzymes involved in intratumoral androgen metabolism in PCa. These steroidogenic enzymes represent targets for complete suppression of systemic and intratumoral androgen levels, an objective that is supported by the clinical efficacy of the CYP17 inhibitor abiraterone. A comprehensive AR axis-targeting approach via simultaneous, frontline enzymatic blockade, and/or transcriptional repression of several steroidogenic enzymes, in combination with GnRH analogs and potent antiandrogens, would represent a powerful future strategy for PCa management.

Li D, Ellis EM
Inducible protection of human astrocytoma 1321N1 cells against hydrogen peroxide and aldehyde toxicity by 7-hydroxycoumarin is associated with the upregulation of aldo-keto reductases.
Neurotoxicology. 2012; 33(5):1368-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and consequent aldehydic lipid peroxidation products have been identified as significant in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Understanding and enhancing endogenous cellular protection against oxidants and aldehydes is therefore of interest in developing strategies to combat these diseases. In this study the role of the aldo-keto reductases AKR7A2 and AKR1C3 in protecting human astrocytoma 1321N1 cells against oxidant and aldehyde toxicity was investigated using siRNA gene silencing. Results show that both enzymes are responsible for part of the intrinsic protection against aldehydes and oxidants. Treating cells with sub-lethal concentrations of oxidant or aldehyde stress or with the natural coumarin 7-hydroxycoumarin (umbelliferone) revealed that endogenous resistance to aldehydes and oxidants can be induced significantly. The basis of the inducible protection by 7-hydroxycoumarin was shown to be associated with induction of the aldo-keto reductases AKR7A2 (1.5-fold) and AKR1C (3-fold), and this inducible protection was sufficient to overcome siRNA silencing of AKR1C3. These results indicate the importance of AKR family members in the detoxication of aldehydes, and also show that the natural phytochemical 7-hydroxycoumarin is a potential therapeutic candidate for neurodegenerative diseases.

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