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Open access

Hongqiang Wang, Rui Zhou, Li Sun, Jianling Xia, Xuchun Yang, Changqie Pan, Na Huang, Min Shi, Jianping Bin, Yulin Liao and Wangjun Liao

Aerobic glycolysis plays an important role in cancer progression. New target genes regulating cancer aerobic glycolysis must be explored to improve patient prognosis. Mitochondrial topoisomerase I (TOP1MT) deficiency suppresses glucose oxidative metabolism but enhances glycolysis in normal cells. Here, we examined the role of TOP1MT in gastric cancer (GC) and attempted to determine the underlying mechanism. Using in vitro and in vivo experiments and analyzing the clinicopathological characteristics of patients with GC, we found that TOP1MT expression was lower in GC samples than in adjacent nonmalignant tissues. TOP1MT knockdown significantly promoted GC migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, TOP1MT silencing increased glucose consumption, lactate production, glucose transporter 1 expression and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in GC. Additionally, regulation of glucose metabolism induced by TOP1MT was significantly associated with lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) expression. A retrospective analysis of clinical data from 295 patients with GC demonstrated that low TOP1MT expression was associated with lymph node metastasis, recurrence and high mortality rates. TOP1MT deficiency enhanced glucose aerobic glycolysis by stimulating LDHA to promote GC progression.

Free access

Stefan J Barfeld, Harri M Itkonen, Alfonso Urbanucci and Ian G Mills

Metabolic changes are a well-described hallmark of cancer and are responses to changes in the activity of diverse oncogenes and tumour suppressors. For example, steroid hormone biosynthesis is intimately associated with changes in lipid metabolism and represents a therapeutic intervention point in the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). Both prostate gland development and tumorigenesis rely on the activity of a steroid hormone receptor family member, the androgen receptor (AR). Recent studies have sought to define the biological effect of the AR on PCa by defining the whole-genome binding sites and gene networks that are regulated by the AR. These studies have provided the first systematic evidence that the AR influences metabolism and biosynthesis at key regulatory steps within pathways that have also been defined as points of influence for other oncogenes, including c-Myc, p53 and hypoxia-inducible factor 1α, in other cancers. The success of interfering with these pathways in a therapeutic setting will, however, hinge on our ability to manage the concomitant stress and survival responses induced by such treatments and to define appropriate therapeutic windows.

Free access

Henning Hvid, Sarah-Maria Fendt, Marie-José Blouin, Elena Birman, Gregory Voisin, Angela Manegold Svendsen, Russell Frank, Matthew G Vander Heiden, Gregory Stephanopoulos, Bo Falck Hansen and Michael Pollak

Recent evidence suggests that type II diabetes is associated with increased risk and/or aggressive behavior of several cancers, including those arising from the colon. Concerns have been raised that endogenous hyperinsulinemia and/or exogenous insulin and insulin analogs might stimulate proliferation of neoplastic cells. However, the mechanisms underlying possible growth-promoting effects of insulin and insulin analogs in cancer cells in vivo, such as changes in gene expression, are incompletely described. We observed that administration of the insulin analog X10 significantly increased tumor growth and proliferation in a murine colon cancer model (MC38 cell allografts). Insulin and X10 altered gene expression in MC38 tumors in a similar fashion, but X10 was more potent in terms of the number of genes influenced and the magnitude of changes in gene expression. Many of the affected genes were annotated to metabolism, nutrient uptake, and protein synthesis. Strikingly, expression of genes encoding enzymes in the serine synthesis pathway, recently shown to be critical for neoplastic proliferation, was increased following treatment with insulin and X10. Using stable isotopic tracers and mass spectrometry, we confirmed that insulin and X10 increased glucose contribution to serine synthesis in MC38 cells. The data demonstrate that the tumor growth-promoting effects of insulin and X10 are associated with changes in expression of genes involved in cellular energy metabolism and reveal previously unrecognized effects of insulin and X10 on serine synthesis.

Free access

Fábio Pereira, María Jesús Larriba and Alberto Muñoz

The most active vitamin D metabolite, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), is a pleiotropic hormone with wide regulatory actions. Classically, vitamin D deficiency was known to alter calcium and phosphate metabolism and bone biology. In addition, recent epidemiological and experimental studies support the association of vitamin D deficiency with a large variety of human diseases, and particularly with the high risk of colorectal cancer. By regulating the expression of many genes via several mechanisms, 1,25(OH)2D3 induces differentiation, controls the detoxification metabolism and cell phenotype, sensitises cells to apoptosis and inhibits the proliferation of cultured human colon carcinoma cells. Consistently, 1,25(OH)2D3 and several of its analogues decrease intestinal tumourigenesis in animal models. Molecular, genetic and clinical data in humans are scarce but they suggest that vitamin D is protective against colon cancer. Clearly, the available evidence warrants new, well-designed, large-scale trials to clarify the role of vitamin D in the prevention and/or therapy of this important neoplasia.

Free access

N Garcia de la Torre, J A H Wass and H E Turner

In recent decades, primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) has changed its clinical presentation from a disease with bone and renal involvement to a frequently asymptomatic disorder detected on routine biochemistry. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether patients with untreated mild asymptomatic hyperparathyroidism are at risk for other complications such as increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases. There are limited data on the incidence of cardiovascular abnormalities in mild pHPT. However, pHPT has been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), valvular and myocardial calcifications, impaired vascular reactivity, alterations in cardiac conduction, impaired glucose metabolism, dyslipidaemia, and alterations in body composition. The nature of some of these associations is in question, because cure of pHPT does not lead to improvement of the cardiovascular disorder e.g. hypertension. In contrast, currently available data suggest that LVH, impaired glucose metabolism and dyslipidaemia may improve after surgery and that successful parathyroidectomy could decrease the excess mortality in patients with pHPT due to cardiovascular disease.

Restricted access

Matias Knuuttila, Arfa Mehmood, Jenni Mäki-Jouppila, Henrik Ryberg, Pekka Taimen, Juha Knaapila, Otto Ettala, Peter J Boström, Claes Ohlsson, Mikko S Venäläinen, Asta Laiho, Laura L Elo, Petra Sipilä, Sari I Mäkelä and Matti Poutanen

Intratumoral androgen biosynthesis is one of the mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer, and an important target for novel prostate cancer therapies. Using gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and genome-wide RNA sequencing, we have analyzed androgen concentrations and androgen-regulated gene expression in cancerous and morphologically benign prostate tissue specimens and serum samples obtained from 48 primary prostate cancer patients. Intratumoral dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations were significantly higher in the cancerous tissues compared to benign prostate (P < 0.001). The tissue/serum ratios of androgens were highly variable between the patients, indicating individual patterns of androgen metabolism and/or uptake of androgens within the prostate tissue. An unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis of intratissue androgen concentrations indicated that transmembrane protease, serine 2/ETS-related gene (TMPRSS2-ERG)-positive patients have different androgen profiles compared to TMPRSS2-ERG-negative patients. TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion status was also associated with an enhanced androgen-regulated gene expression, along with altered intratumoral androgen metabolism, demonstrated by reduced testosterone concentrations and increased DHT/testosterone ratios in TMPRSS2-ERG-positive tumors. TMPRSS2-ERG-positive and -negative prostate cancer specimens have distinct intratumoral androgen profiles, possibly due to activation of testosterone-independent DHT biosynthesis via the alternative pathway in TMPRSS2-ERG-positive tumors. Thus, patients with TMPRSS2-ERG-positive prostate cancer may benefit from novel inhibitors targeting the alternative DHT biosynthesis.

Free access

Stephen J Marx

Five syndromes share predominantly hyperplastic glands with a primary excess of hormones: neonatal severe primary hyperparathyroidism, from homozygous mutated CASR, begins severely in utero; congenital non-autoimmune thyrotoxicosis, from mutated TSHR, varies from severe with fetal onset to mild with adult onset; familial male-limited precocious puberty, from mutated LHR, expresses testosterone oversecretion in young boys; hereditary ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, from mutated FSHR, expresses symptomatic systemic vascular permeabilities during pregnancy; and familial hyperaldosteronism type IIIA, from mutated KCNJ5, presents in young children with hypertension and hypokalemia. The grouping of these five syndromes highlights predominant hyperplasia as a stable tissue endpoint and as their tissue stage for all of the hormone excess. Comparisons were made among this and two other groups of syndromes, forming a continuum of gland staging: predominant oversecretions express little or no hyperplasia; predominant hyperplasias express little or no neoplasia; and predominant neoplasias express nodules, adenomas, or cancers. Hyperplasias may progress (5 of 5) to neoplastic stages while predominant oversecretions rarely do (1 of 6; frequencies differ P<0.02). Hyperplasias do not show tumor multiplicity (0 of 5) unlike neoplasias that do (13 of 19; P<0.02). Hyperplasias express mutation of a plasma membrane-bound sensor (5 of 5), while neoplasias rarely do (3 of 14; P<0.002). In conclusion, the multiple distinguishing themes within the hyperplasias establish a robust pathophysiology. It has the shared and novel feature of mutant sensors in the plasma membrane, suggesting that these are major contributors to hyperplasia.

Free access

Ruth Foley, Donal Hollywood and Mark Lawler

Microarray technology has recently accelerated the study of the molecular events involved in prostate cancer, offering the prospect of more precise prognosis and new therapeutic strategies. This review summarises current knowledge of the molecular pathology of prostate cancer. The expression and function of numerous genes have been shown to be altered in prostate cancer. Many of these genes are involved in cell cycle regulation, steroid hormone metabolism or regulation of gene expression. The mechanisms by which androgen independence arises are discussed, including cross-activation, gene amplification and point mutations of the androgen receptor. Analysis of changes in the levels of expression of large numbers of genes during prostate cancer progression have provided a better understanding of the basis of the disease, yielding new molecular markers, such as hepsin, with potential use in diagnosis and prognosis.

Free access

Gail S Prins

There is increasing evidence both from epidemiology studies and animal models that specific endocrine-disrupting compounds may influence the development or progression of prostate cancer. In large part, these effects appear to be linked to interference with estrogen signaling, either through interacting with ERs or by influencing steroid metabolism and altering estrogen levels within the body. In humans, epidemiologic evidence links specific pesticides, PCBs and inorganic arsenic exposures to elevated prostate cancer risk. Studies in animal models also show augmentation of prostate carcinogenesis with several other environmental estrogenic compounds including cadmium, UV filters and BPA. Importantly, there appears to be heightened sensitivity of the prostate to these endocrine disruptors during the critical developmental windows including in utero and neonatal time points as well as during puberty. Thus infants and children may be considered a highly susceptible population for ED exposures and increased risk of prostate cancers with aging.

Free access

Steven M Hill, Victoria P Belancio, Robert T Dauchy, Shulin Xiang, Samantha Brimer, Lulu Mao, Adam Hauch, Peter W Lundberg, Whitney Summers, Lin Yuan, Tripp Frasch and David E Blask

The present review discusses recent work on melatonin-mediated circadian regulation, the metabolic and molecular signaling mechanisms that are involved in human breast cancer growth, and the associated consequences of circadian disruption by exposure to light at night (LEN). The anti-cancer actions of the circadian melatonin signal in human breast cancer cell lines and xenografts heavily involve MT1 receptor-mediated mechanisms. In estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive human breast cancer, melatonin suppresses ERα mRNA expression and ERα transcriptional activity via the MT1 receptor. Melatonin also regulates the transactivation of other members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, estrogen-metabolizing enzymes, and the expression of core clock and clock-related genes. Furthermore, melatonin also suppresses tumor aerobic metabolism (the Warburg effect) and, subsequently, cell-signaling pathways critical to cell proliferation, cell survival, metastasis, and drug resistance. Melatonin demonstrates both cytostatic and cytotoxic activity in breast cancer cells that appears to be cell type-specific. Melatonin also possesses anti-invasive/anti-metastatic actions that involve multiple pathways, including inhibition of p38 MAPK and repression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Studies have demonstrated that melatonin promotes genomic stability by inhibiting the expression of LINE-1 retrotransposons. Finally, research in animal and human models has indicated that LEN-induced disruption of the circadian nocturnal melatonin signal promotes the growth, metabolism, and signaling of human breast cancer and drives breast tumors to endocrine and chemotherapeutic resistance. These data provide the strongest understanding and support of the mechanisms that underpin the epidemiologic demonstration of elevated breast cancer risk in night-shift workers and other individuals who are increasingly exposed to LEN.