Iron addiction: a novel therapeutic target in ovarian cancer.
ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancer is a lethal malignancy that has not seen a major therapeutic advance in over 30 years. We demonstrate that ovarian cancer exhibits a targetable alteration in iron metabolism. Ferroportin (FPN), the iron efflux pump, is decreased, and transferrin receptor (TFR1), the iron importer, is increased in tumor tissue from patients with high grade but not low grade serous ovarian cancer. A similar profile of decreased FPN and increased TFR1 is observed in a genetic model of ovarian cancer tumor-initiating cells (TICs). The net result of these changes is an accumulation of excess intracellular iron and an augmented dependence on iron for proliferation. A forced reduction in intracellular iron reduces the proliferation of ovarian cancer TICs in vitro, and inhibits both tumor growth and intraperitoneal dissemination of tumor cells in vivo. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that iron increases metastatic spread by facilitating invasion through expression of matrix metalloproteases and synthesis of interleukin 6 (IL-6). We show that the iron dependence of ovarian cancer TICs renders them exquisitely sensitive in vivo to agents that induce iron-dependent cell death (ferroptosis) as well as iron chelators, and thus creates a metabolic vulnerability that can be exploited therapeutically.
Project description:An increasing body of evidence suggests that dysregulation of iron metabolism contributes to age-related pathologies. We have previously observed increased hepatic iron with aging, and that environmental heat stress stimulates a further increase in iron and oxidative liver injury in old rats. The purpose of this study was to determine a mechanism for the increase in hepatic iron in old rats after heat stress. Young (6 mo) and old (24 mo) Fischer 344 rats were exposed to two heating bouts separated by 24 h. Livers were harvested after the second heat stress, and protein levels of the iron import protein, transferrin receptor-1 (TFR1), and the iron export protein, ferroportin (Fpn) were determined by immunoblot. In the nonheated condition, old rats had lower TFR1 expression, and higher Fpn expression. After heat stress, TFR1 declined in the old rats, and iron chelation studies demonstrated that this decline was dependent on a hyperthermia-induced increase in iron. TFR1 did not change in the young rats after heat stress. Since TFR1 is inversely regulated by iron, our results suggest that the increase in intracellular iron with aging and heat stress lower TFR1 expression. Fpn expression increased in both age groups after heat stress, but this response was delayed in old rats. This delay in the induction of an iron exporter suggests a mechanism for the increase in hepatic iron and oxidative injury after heat stress in aged organisms.
Project description:The central dysregulated pathway of clear cell (cc) renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the von Hippel Lindau/hypoxia inducible factor-? axis, is a key regulator of intracellular iron levels, however the role of iron uptake in human RCC tumorigenesis and progression remains unknown. We conducted a thorough, large-scale investigation of the expression and prognostic significance of the primary iron uptake protein, transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1/CD71/TFRC), in RCC patients. TfR1 immunohistochemistry was performed in over 1500 cores from 574 renal cell tumor patient tissues (primary tumors, matched benign kidneys, metastases) and non-neoplastic tissues from 36 different body sites. TfR1 levels in RCC tumors, particularly ccRCC, were significantly associated with adverse clinical prognostic features (anemia, lower body mass index, smoking), worse tumor pathology (size, stage, grade, multifocality, sarcomatoid dedifferentiation) and worse survival outcomes, including after adjustments for tumor pathology. Highest TfR1 tissue levels in the non-gravid body were detected in benign renal tubule epithelium. Opposite to TfR1 changes in the primary tumor, TfR1 levels in benign kidney dropped during tumor progression and were inversely associated with worse survival outcomes, independent of tumor pathology. Quantitative measurement of TfR1 subcellular localization in cell lines demonstrated mixed cytoplasmic and membranous expression with increased TfR1 in clusters in ccRCC versus benign renal cell lines. Results of this study support an important role for TfR1 in RCC progression and identify TfR1 as a novel RCC biomarker and therapeutic target.
Project description:Although we and other studies indicated ZNF217 expression was increased in prostate cancer (PCa), the factors mediating its misregulated expression and their oncogenic activity remain largely unexplored. Recent evidence demonstrated that ferroportin (FPN) reduction lead to decreased iron export and increased intercellular iron that consequently aggravates the oncogenic effects of iron. In the present study, ZNF217 was identified as a transcriptional repressor that inhibits FPN expression. Increased of ZNF217 expression led to decreased FPN concentration, coupled with resultant intracellular iron retention, increased iron-related cellular activities and enhanced tumor cell growth. In contrast, decreased of ZNF217 expression restrained tumor cell growth by promoting FPN-driven iron egress. Mechanistic investigation manifested that ZNF217 facilitated the H3K27me3 levels of FPN promoter by interacting with EZH2. Besides, we also found that MAZ increased the transcription level of ZNF217, and subsequently inhibited the FPN expression and their iron-related activities. Strikingly, the expression of MAZ, EZH2 and ZNF217 were concurrently upregulated in PCa, leading to decreased expression of FPN, which induce disordered iron metabolism. Collectively, this study underscored that elevated expression of ZNF217 promotes prostate cancer growth by restraining FPN-conducted iron egress.
Project description:Iron metabolism is essential for many cellular processes, including oxygen transport, respiration and DNA synthesis, and many cancer cells exhibit dysregulation in iron metabolism. Maintenance of cellular iron homeostasis is regulated by iron regulatory proteins (IRPs), which control the expression of iron-related genes by binding iron-responsive elements (IREs) of target mRNAs. Here, we report that mitochondrial SIRT3 regulates cellular iron metabolism by modulating IRP1 activity. SIRT3 loss increases reactive oxygen species production, leading to elevated IRP1 binding to IREs. As a consequence, IRP1 target genes, such as the transferrin receptor (TfR1), a membrane-associated glycoprotein critical for iron uptake and cell proliferation, are controlled by SIRT3. Importantly, SIRT3 deficiency results in a defect in cellular iron homeostasis. SIRT3 null cells contain high levels of iron and lose iron-dependent TfR1 regulation. Moreover, SIRT3 null mice exhibit higher levels of iron and TfR1 expression in the pancreas. We found that the regulation of iron uptake and TfR1 expression contribute to the tumor-suppressive activity of SIRT3. Indeed, SIRT3 expression is negatively correlated with TfR1 expression in human pancreatic cancers. SIRT3 overexpression decreases TfR1 expression by inhibiting IRP1 and represses proliferation in pancreatic cancer cells. Our data uncover a novel role of SIRT3 in cellular iron metabolism through IRP1 regulation and suggest that SIRT3 functions as a tumor suppressor, in part, by modulating cellular iron metabolism.
Project description:Ferroportin (FPN) exports iron from duodenal enterocytes, macrophages, and hepatocytes to maintain systemic iron homeostasis. In addition, FPN is expressed in various cancer cells. Here, we show that in lung cancer, FPN expression is regulated by miR-20a. Within the FPN-3'-untranslated region (3'UTR), we identify and experimentally validate three evolutionarily conserved target sites for the microRNA (miRNA) members of the miR-17 seed family, including miR-20a. Our analysis of RNA sequencing data from patients with lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) revealed that FPN messenger RNA (mRNA) levels are significantly decreased in tumor compared to matched healthy tissue, while miR-20a levels are increased. A significant negative correlation of miR-20a and FPN expression was observed. Functional studies further demonstrate that FPN is post-transcriptionally regulated by miR-20a in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells and that overexpression or knockdown of miR-20a or FPN affects NSCLC proliferation and colony formation. Taken together, our data suggest that increased expression of miR-20 in lung cancer may decrease iron export, leading to intracellular iron retention, which, in turn, favors cell proliferation.miR-20a controls expression of the iron exporter ferroportin (FPN) by binding to highly conserved target sites in its 3'UTR. Expression of miR-20a is inversely correlated to FPN in lung cancer. Low FPN expression stimulates proliferation and colony formation of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, possibly by increasing iron availability for cancer cell proliferation.
Project description:Exposure to stress is known to cause hepatic iron dysregulation, but the relationship between prolonged stress and liver iron metabolism is not yet fully understood. Thirty 13-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into two groups, as follows: the control group (saline-injection) and the dexamethasone group (Dexamethasone (Dex)-injection 0.1 mg/kg/day). After the 21-day stress trial, the results showed that chronic Dex administration not only impaired serum corticosterone (p = 0.00) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (p = 0.01) levels, but also decreased white blood cell counts (p = 0.00), and reduced blood lymphocyte counts (p = 0.00). The daily Dex-injection also significantly reduced body weight (p < 0.01) by inhibiting food intake. Consecutive Dex administration resulted in decreased iron intake (p = 0.00), enhanced serum iron levels (p = 0.01), and increased the serum souble transferrin receptor (sTfR) content (p = 0.00) in rats. Meanwhile, long-term Dex exposure down-regulated duodenal cytochrome b (DCYTB) (p = 0.00) and the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) (p = 0.04) protein expression, but up-regulated ferroportin (FPN) protein expression (p = 0.04). Chronic Dex administration reduced liver iron concentration (p = 0.02) in rats. Hepatic transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1) expression was lowered at the protein level (p = 0.03), yet with uncoupled mRNA abundance in Dex-treated rats. Enhanced iron-regulatory protein (IRP)/iron-responsive element (IRE) binding activity was observed, but did not line up with lowered hepatic TFR1 protein expression. This study indicates that long-term Dex exposure reduces liver iron content, which is closely associated with down-regulated hepatic TFR1 protein expression.
Project description:Targeting transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) with monoclonal antibodies is a promising therapeutic strategy in cancer as tumor cells often overexpress TfR1 and show increased iron needs. We have re-engineered six anti-human TfR1 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies into fully human scFv2-Fcγ1 and IgG1 antibodies. We selected the more promising candidate (H7), based on its ability to inhibit TfR1-mediated iron-loaded transferrin internalization in Raji cells (B-cell lymphoma). The H7 antibody displayed nanomolar affinity for its target in both formats (scFv2-Fcγ1 and IgG1), but cross-reacted with mouse TfR1 only in the scFv2-Fc format. H7 reduced the intracellular labile iron pool and, contrary to what has been observed with previously described anti-TfR1 antibodies, upregulated TfR1 level in Raji cells. H7 scFv2-Fc format elimination half-life was similar in FcRn knock-out and wild type mice, suggesting that TfR1 recycling contributes to prevent H7 elimination in vivo. In vitro, H7 inhibited the growth of erythroleukemia and B-cell lymphoma cell lines (IC50 0.1 µg/mL) and induced their apoptosis. Moreover, the Im9 B-cell lymphoma cell line, which is resistant to apoptosis induced by rituximab (anti-CD20 antibody), was sensitive to H7. In vivo, tumor regression was observed in nude mice bearing ERY-1 erythroleukemia cell xenografts treated with H7 through a mechanism that involved iron deprivation and antibody-dependent cytotoxic effector functions. Therefore, targeting TfR1 using the fully human anti-TfR1 H7 is a promising tool for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma.
Project description:Astrocytic brain tumors are the most frequent primary brain tumors. Treatment with radio- and chemotherapy has increased survival making prognostic biomarkers increasingly important. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression and prognostic value of transferrin receptor-1 (TfR1) as well as ferritin heavy (FTH) and light (FTL) chain in astrocytic brain tumors. A cohort of 111 astrocytic brain tumors (grade II-IV) was stained immunohistochemically with antibodies against TfR1, FTH, and FTL and scored semi-quantitatively. Double-immunofluorescence stainings were established to determine the phenotype of cells expressing these markers. We found that TfR1, FTH, and FTL were expressed by tumor cells in all grades. TfR1 increased with grade (p<0.001), but was not associated with prognosis in the individual grades. FTH and FTL were expressed by tumor cells and cells with microglial/macrophage morphology. Neither FTH nor FTL increased with malignancy grade, but low FTH expression by both tumor cells (p = 0.03) and microglia/macrophages (p = 0.01) correlated with shorter survival in patients anaplastic astrocytoma. FTL-positive microglia/macrophages were frequent in glioblastomas, and high FTL levels correlated with shorter survival in the whole cohort (p = 0.01) and in patients with anaplastic astrocytoma (p = 0.02). Double-immunofluorescence showed that TfR1, FTH, and FTL were co-expressed to a limited extent with the stem cell-related marker CD133. FTH and FTL were also co-expressed by IBA-1-positive microglia/macrophages. In conclusion, TfR1 was highly expressed in glioblastomas and associated with shorter survival in the whole cohort, but not in the individual malignancy grades. Low levels of FTH-positive tumor cells and microglia/macrophages were associated with poor survival in anaplastic astrocytomas, while high amounts of FTL-positive microglia/macrophages had a negative prognostic value. The results suggest that regulation of the iron metabolism in astrocytic brain tumors is complex involving both autocrine and paracrine signaling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:During infections involving intracellular pathogens, iron performs a double-edged function by providing the pathogen with nutrients, but also boosts the host's antimicrobial arsenal. Although the role of iron has been described in visceral leishmaniasis, information regarding its status in the dermal sequel, Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) remains limited. Accordingly, this study aimed to establish the status of iron within monocytes/macrophages of PKDL cases. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:The intramonocytic labile iron pool (LIP), status of CD163 (hemoglobin-haptoglobin scavenging receptor) and CD71 (transferrin receptor, Tfr) were evaluated within CD14+ monocytes by flow cytometry, and soluble CD163 by ELISA. At the lesional sites, Fe3+ status was evaluated by Prussian blue staining, parasite load by qPCR, while the mRNA expression of Tfr (TfR1/CD71), CD163, divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT-1), Lipocalin-2 (Lcn-2), Heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1), Ferritin, Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (NRAMP-1) and Ferroportin (Fpn-1) was evaluated by droplet digital PCR. Circulating monocytes demonstrated elevated levels of CD71, CD163 and soluble CD163, which corroborated with an enhanced lesional mRNA expression of TfR, CD163, DMT1 and Lcn-2. Additionally, the LIP was raised along with an elevated mRNA expression of ferritin and HO-1, as also iron exporters NRAMP-1 and Fpn-1. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:In monocytes/macrophages of PKDL cases, enhancement of the iron influx gateways (TfR, CD163, DMT-1 and Lcn-2) possibly accounted for the enhanced LIP. However, enhancement of the iron exporters (NRAMP-1 and Fpn-1) defied the classical Ferritinlow/Ferroportinhigh phenotype of alternatively activated macrophages. The creation of such a pro-parasitic environment suggests incorporation of chemotherapeutic strategies wherein the availability of iron to the parasite can be restricted.