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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26452

Title: Molecular Rationale and Determinants of Sensitivity for Statin-Induced Apoptosis of Human Tumour Cells
Authors: Clendening, James William
Advisor: Penn, Linda Z.
Department: Medical Biophysics
Keywords: statins
anti-cancer therapeutics
HMG-CoA reductase
ovarian cancer
multiple myeloma
drug sensitivity
drug resistance
tumour metabolism
Issue Date: 7-Mar-2011
Abstract: The statin family of hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) inhibitors, used to control hypercholesterolemia, triggers apoptosis of various human tumour cells. HMGCR is the rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate (MVA) pathway, a fundamental metabolic pathway required for the generation of a number of biochemical end-products including cholesterol and isoprenoids, but the contribution of the MVA pathway to human cancer remains largely unexplored. Furthermore, as only a subset of tumour cells has been shown to be highly responsive to statins, the identification of appropriate subsets of patients will be required to successfully advance these agents as anticancer therapeutics. To this end, there were two major aims to this work: 1) Elucidate a molecular rationale for the observed therapeutic index of statin-induced apoptosis in normal and tumour cells; 2) Identify molecular determinants of sensitivity for statin-induced apoptosis in human tumour cells. To address the first aim we demonstrated that dysregulation of the MVA pathway, achieved by ectopic expression of either full length HMGCR (HMGCR-FL) or its novel splice variant lacking exon 13 (HMGCR-D13), increases transformation. Ectopic HMGCR promotes growth of transformed and non-transformed cells under anchorage-independent conditions or as xenografts in immunocompromised mice. We also show that high mRNA levels of HMGCR and four out of five other MVA pathway genes correlate with poor prognosis in primary breast cancer, suggesting the MVA pathway may play a role in the etiology of human cancers. To address the second aim, we show that dysregulation of the MVA pathway is a key determinant of sensitivity to statin-induced apoptosis in multiple myeloma. In a panel of 17 distinct myeloma cell lines, half were sensitive to statin-induced apoptosis and the remainder were insensitive. Interestingly, in sensitive cells, the classic feedback response to statin exposure is lost, a feature we demonstrated could distinguish a subset of statin-sensitive primary myeloma cells. We further illustrated that statins are highly effective and well tolerated in an orthotopic model of myeloma using cells harboring a dysregulated MVA pathway. Taken together, this work provides a molecular rationale and determinants of sensitivity for statin-induced apoptosis of human tumour cells.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26452
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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