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Prostate cancer cell proliferation is influenced by LDL-cholesterol availability and cholesteryl ester turnover


BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer growth is driven by androgen receptor signaling, and advanced disease is initially treatable by depleting circulating androgens. However, prostate cancer cells inevitably adapt, resulting in disease relapse with incurable castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation therapy has many side effects, including hypercholesterolemia, and more aggressive and castrate-resistant prostate cancers typically feature cellular accumulation of cholesterol stored in the form of cholesteryl esters. As cholesterol is a key substrate for de novo steroidogenesis in prostate cells, this study hypothesized that castrate-resistant/advanced prostate cancer cell growth is influenced by the availability of extracellular, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-derived, cholesterol, which is coupled to intracellular cholesteryl ester homeostasis. METHODS: C4-2B and PC3 prostate cancer cells were cultured in media supplemented with fetal calf serum (FCS), charcoal-stripped FCS (CS-FCS), lipoprotein-deficient FCS (LPDS), or charcoal-stripped LPDS (CS-LPDS) and analyzed by a variety of biochemical techniques. Cell viability and proliferation were measured by MTT assay and Incucyte, respectively. RESULTS: Reducing lipoprotein availability led to a reduction in cholesteryl ester levels and cell growth in C4-2B and PC3 cells, with concomitant reductions in PI3K/mTOR and p38MAPK signaling. This reduced growth in LPDS-containing media was fully recovered by supplementation of exogenous low-density lipoprotein (LDL), but LDL only partially rescued growth of cells cultured with CS-LPDS. This growth pattern was not associated with changes in androgen receptor signaling but rather increased p38MAPK and MEK1/ERK/MSK1 activation. The ability of LDL supplementation to rescue cell growth required cholesterol esterification as well as cholesteryl ester hydrolysis activity. Further, growth of cells cultured in low androgen levels (CS-FCS) was suppressed when cholesteryl ester hydrolysis was inhibited. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these studies demonstrate that androgen-independent prostate cancer cell growth can be influenced by extracellular lipid levels and LDL-cholesterol availability and that uptake of extracellular cholesterol, through endocytosis of LDL-derived cholesterol and subsequent delivery and storage in the lipid droplet as cholesteryl esters, is required to support prostate cancer cell growth. This provides new insights into the relationship between extracellular cholesterol, intracellular cholesterol metabolism, and prostate cancer cell growth and the potential mechanisms linking hypercholesterolemia and more aggressive prostate cancer.

Type Journal
ISBN 2049-3002 (Print) 2049-3002 (Linking)
Authors Raftopulos, N. L.; Washaya, T. C.; Niederprum, A.; Egert, A.; Hakeem-Sanni, M. F.; Varney, B.; Aishah, A.; Georgieva, M. L.; Olsson, E.; Dos Santos, D. Z.; Nassar, Z. D.; Cochran, B. J.; Nagarajan, S. R.; Kakani, M. S.; Hastings, J. F.; Croucher, D. R.; Rye, K. A.; Butler, L. M.; Grewal, T.; Hoy, A. J.
Publisher Name Cancer and Metabolism
Published Date 2022-01-15
Published Volume 10
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 1
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1186/s40170-021-00278-1
URL link to publisher's version