The role of insulin and IGF2 signalling on metabolic pathways in prostate cancer progression

Lubik, Amy Anne (2011) The role of insulin and IGF2 signalling on metabolic pathways in prostate cancer progression. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Prostate cancer (CaP) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males in Australia, North America, and Europe. If found early and locally confined, CaP can be treated with radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy; however, 25-40% patients will relapse and go on to advanced disease. The most common therapy in these cases is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which suppresses androgen production from the testis. Lack of the testicular androgen supply causes cells of the prostate to undergo apoptosis. However, in some cases the regression initially seen with ADT eventually gives way to a growth of a population of cancerous cells that no longer require testicular androgens. This phenotype is essentially fatal and is termed castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In addition to eventual regression, there are many undesirable side effects which accompany ADT, including development of a metabolic syndrome, which is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” This project will focus on the effect of ADT induced hyperinsulinemia, as mimicked by treating androgen receptor positive CaP cells with insulin in a serum (hormone) deprived environment. While this side effect is not widely explored, in this thesis it is demonstrated for the first time that insulin upregulates pathways important to CaP progression. Our group has previously shown that during CaP progression, the enzymes necessary for de novo steroidogenesis are upregulated in the LNCaP xenograft model, total steroid levels are increased in tumours compared to pre castrate levels, and de novo steroidogenesis from radio-labelled acetate has been demonstrated. Because of the CaP dependence on AR for survival, we and other groups believe that CaP cells carry out de novo steroidogenesis to survive in androgen deprived conditions. Because (a) men on ADT often develop metabolic syndrome, and (b) men with lifestyle-induced obesity and hyperinsulinemia have worse prognosis and faster disease progression, and because (c) insulin causes steroidogenesis in other cell lines, the hypothesis that insulin may contribute to CaP progression through upregulation of steroidogenesis was explored. Insulin upregulates steroidogenesis enzymes at the mRNA level in three AR positive cell lines, as well as upregulating these enzymes at the protein level in two cell lines. It has also been demonstrated that insulin increases mitochondrial (functional) levels of steroid acute regulatory protein (StAR). Furthermore, insulin causes increased levels of total steroids in and induction of de novo steroid synthesis by insulin has been demonstrated at levels induced sufficient to activate AR. The effect of insulin analogs on CaP steroidogenesis in LNCaP and VCaP cells has also been investigated because epidemiological studies suggest that some of the analogs developed may have more cancer stimulatory effects than normal insulin. In this project, despite the signalling differences between glargine, X10, and insulin, these analogs did not appear to induce steroidogenesis any more potently that normal insulin. The effect of insulin of MCF7breast cancer cells was also investigated with results suggesting that breast cancer cells may be capable of de novo steroidogenesis, and that increase in estradiol production may be exacerbated by insulin. Insulin has also been long known to stimulate lipogenesis in the liver and adipocytes, and has been demonstrated to increase lipogenesis in breast cancer cells; therefore, investigation of the effect of insulin on lipogenesis, which is a hallmark of aggressive cancers, was investigated. In CaP progression sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) is dysregulated and upregulates fatty acid synthase (FASN), acetyl CoA-carboxylase, and other lipogenesis genes. SREBP is important for steroidogenesis and in this project has been shown to be upregulated by insulin in CaP cells. Fatty acid synthesis provides building blocks of membrane growth, provides substrates for acid oxidation, the main energy source for CaP cells, provides building blocks for anti-apoptotic and proinflammatory molecules, and provides molecules that stimulate steroidogenesis. In this project it has been shown that insulin upregulates FASN and ACC, which synthesize fatty acids, as well as upregulating hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), diazepam-binding inhibitor (DBI), and long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase 3 (ACSL3), which contribute to lipid activation of steroidogenesis. Insulin also upregulates total lipid levels and de novo lipogenesis, which can be suppressed by inhibition of the insulin receptor (INSR). The fatty acids synthesized after insulin treatment are those that have been associated with CaP; furthermore, microarray data suggests insulin may upregulate fatty acid biosynthesis, metabolism and arachidonic acid metabolism pathways, which have been implicated in CaP growth and survival. Pharmacological agents used to treat patients with hyperinsulinemia/ hyperlipidemia have gained much interest in regards to CaP risk and treatment; however, the scientific rationale behind these clinical applications has not been examined. This thesis explores whether the use of metformin or simvastatin would decrease either lipogenesis or steroidogenesis or both in CaP cells. Simvastatin is a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) inhibitor, which blocks synthesis of cholesterol, the building block of steroids/ androgens. It has also been postulated to down regulate SREBP in other metabolic disorders. It has been shown in this thesis, in LNCaP cells, that simvastatin inhibited and decreased insulin induced steroidogenesis and lipogenesis, respectively, but increased these pathways in the absence of insulin. Conversely, metformin, which activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to shut down lipogenesis, cholesterol synthesis, and protein synthesis, highly suppresses both steroidogenesis and lipogenesis in the presence and absence of insulin. Lastly, because it has been demonstrated to increase steroidogenesis in other cell lines, and because the elucidation of any factors affecting steroidogenesis is important to understanding CaP, the effect of IGF2 on steroidogenesis in CaP cells was investigated. In patient samples, as men progress to CRPC, IGF2 mRNA and the protein levels of the receptors it may signal through are upregulated. It has also been demonstrated that IGF2 upregulates steroidogenic enzymes at both the mRNA and protein levels in LNCaP cells, increases intracellular and secreted steroid/androgen levels in LNCaPs to levels sufficient to stimulate the AR, and upregulated de novo steroidogenesis in LNCaPs and VCaPs. As well, inhibition of INSR and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R), which IGF2 signals through, suggests that induction of steroidogenesis may be occurring predominantly through IGF1R. In summary, this project has illuminated for the first time that insulin is likely to play a large role in cancer progression, through upregulation of the steroidogenesis and lipogenesis pathways at the mRNA and protein levels, and production levels, and demonstrates a novel role for IGF-II in CaP progression through stimulation of steroidogenesis. It has also been demonstrated that metformin and simvastatin drugs may be useful in suppressing the insulin induction of these pathways. This project affirms the pathways by which ADT- induced metabolic syndrome may exacerbate CaP progression and strongly suggests that the monitoring and modulation of the metabolic state of CaP patients could have a strong impact on their therapeutic outcomes.

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ID Code: 49029
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Nelson, Colleen & Herington, Adrian
Keywords: prostate cancer, metabolic syndrome, insulin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 2, steroidogenesis, lipogenesis, sterol response element binding protein (SREBP), metformin, simvastatin
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 07 Mar 2012 00:33
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2012 00:33

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