AKR1C3 (type 5 17?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/prostaglandin F synthase): Roles in malignancy and endocrine disorders.
ABSTRACT: Aldo-Keto-Reductase 1C3 (type 5 17?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD)/prostaglandin (PG) F2? synthase) is the only 17?-HSD that is not a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase. By acting as a 17-ketosteroid reductase, AKR1C3 produces potent androgens in peripheral tissues which activate the androgen receptor (AR) or act as substrates for aromatase. AKR1C3 is implicated in the production of androgens in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and polycystic ovarian syndrome; and is implicated in the production of aromatase substrates in breast cancer. By acting as an 11-ketoprostaglandin reductase, AKR1C3 generates 11?-PGF2? to activate the FP receptor and deprives peroxisome proliferator activator receptor? of its putative PGJ2 ligands. These growth stimulatory signals implicate AKR1C3 in non-hormonal dependent malignancies e.g. acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AKR1C3 moonlights by acting as a co-activator of the AR and stabilizes ubiquitin ligases. AKR1C3 inhibitors have been used clinically for CRPC and AML and can be used to probe its pluripotency.
Project description:The progression of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is driven by the intratumoral conversion of adrenal androgen precursors to potent androgens. The expression of aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3), which catalyses the reduction of weak androgens to more potent androgens, is significantly increased in CRPC tumours. The oxidation of androgens to their inactive form is catalysed by 17?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (17?HSD2), but little attention is given to the expression levels of this enzyme. In this study, we show that the 11-oxygenated androgen precursors of adrenal origin are the preferred substrate for AKR1C3. In particular we show that the enzymatic efficiency of AKR1C3 is 8- and 24-fold greater for 11-ketoandrostenedione than for the classic substrates androstenedione and 5?-androstanedione, respectively. Using three independent experimental systems and a computational model we subsequently show that increased ratios of AKR1C3:17?HSD2 significantly favours the flux through the 11-oxygenated androgen pathway as compared to the classical or 5?-androstanedione pathways. Our findings reveal that the flux through the classical and 5?-androstanedione pathways are limited by the low catalytic efficiently of AKR1C3 towards classical androgens combined with the high catalytic efficiency of 17?HSD2, and that the expression of the oxidative enzyme therefore plays a vital role in determining the steady state concentration of active androgens. Using microarray data from prostate tissue we confirm that the AKR1C3:17?HSD2 ratio is significantly increased in patients undergoing androgen deprivation therapy as compared to benign tissue, and further increased in patients with CRPC. Taken together this study therefore demonstrates that the ratio of AKR1C3:17?HSD2 is more important than AKR1C3 expression alone in determining intratumoral androgen levels and that 11-oxygenated androgens may play a bigger role in CRPC than previously anticipated.
Project description:Aberrant androgen receptor (AR) activation is the major driver of castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). CRPC is ultimately fatal and more therapeutic agents are needed to treat this disease. Compounds that target the androgen axis by inhibiting androgen biosynthesis and or AR signaling are potential candidates for use in CRPC treatment and are currently being pursued aggressively. Aldo-keto reductase 1C3 (AKR1C3) plays a pivotal role in androgen biosynthesis within the prostate. It catalyzes the 17-ketoreduction of weak androgen precursors to give testosterone and 5?-dihydrotestosterone. AKR1C3 expression and activity has been implicated in the development of CRPC, making it a rational target. Selective inhibition of AKR1C3 will be important, however, due to the presence of closely related isoforms, AKR1C1 and AKR1C2 that are also involved in androgen inactivation. We examine the evidence that supports the vital role of AKR1C3 in CRPC and recent developments in the discovery of potent and selective AKR1C3 inhibitors. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'CSR 2013'.
Project description:Drugs used for the treatment of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) include Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga®) and Enzalutamide (XTANDI®). However, these drugs provide clinical benefit in metastatic disease for only a brief period before drug resistance emerges. One mechanism of drug resistance involves the overexpression of type 5 17-?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (aldo-keto reductase 1C3 or AKR1C3), a major enzyme responsible for the formation of intratumoral androgens that activate the androgen receptor (AR). 3-((4-Nitronaphthalen-1-yl)amino)benzoic acid 1 is a "first-in-class" AKR1C3 competitive inhibitor and AR antagonist. Compound 1 was compared in a battery of in vitro studies with structurally related N-naphthyl-aminobenzoates, and AKR1C3 targeted therapeutics e.g. GTx-560 and ASP9521, as well as with R-bicalutamide, enzalutamide and abiraterone acetate. Compound 1 was the only naphthyl derivative that was a selective AKR1C3 inhibitor and AR antagonist in direct competitive binding assays and in AR driven reporter gene assays. GTx-560 displayed weak activity as a direct AR antagonist but had high potency in the AR reporter gene assay consistent with its ability to inhibit the co-activator function of AKR1C3. By contrast ASP9521 did not act as either an AR antagonist or block AR reporter gene activity. Compound 1 was the only compound that showed comparable potency to inhibit AKR1C3 and act as a direct AR antagonist. Compound 1 blocked the formation of testosterone in LNCaP-AKR1C3 cells, and the expression of PSA driven by the AKR1C3 substrate (4-androstene-3,17-dione) and by an AR agonist, 5?-dihydrotestosterone consistent with its bifunctional role. Compound 1 blocked the nuclear translocation of the AR at similar concentrations to enzalutamide and caused disappearance of the AR from cell lysates. R-biaclutamide and enzalutamide inhibited AKR1C3 at concentrations 200x greater than compound 1, suggesting that its bifunctionality can be explained by a shared pharmacophore that can be optimized.
Project description:Current endocrine treatment for advanced prostate cancer does not result in a complete ablation of adrenal androgens. Adrenal androgens can be metabolized by prostate cancer cells, which is one of the mechanisms associated with progression to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 (AKR1C3) is a steroidogenic enzyme that plays a crucial role in the conversion of adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) into high-affinity ligands for the androgen receptor (testosterone [T] and dihydrotestosterone [DHT]). The aim of this study was to examine whether AKR1C3 could be used as a marker and therapeutic target for CRPC. AKR1C3 mRNA and protein levels were upregulated in CRPC tissue, compared with benign prostate and primary prostate cancer tissue. High AKR1C3 levels were found only in a subset of CRPC patients. AKR1C3 can be used as a biomarker for active intratumoral steroidogenesis and can be measured in biopsy or transurethral resection of the prostate specimens. DuCaP (a CRPC cell line that has high AKR1C3 expression levels) used and converted DHEA under hormone-depleted conditions into T and DHT. The DHEA-induced growth of DuCaP could be antagonized by indomethacine, an inhibitor of AKR1C3. This study indicates that AKR1C3 can be considered a therapeutic target in a subgroup of patients with high AKR1C3 expression.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Intra-tumoral steroidogenesis and constitutive androgen receptor (AR) activity have been associated with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). This study aimed to examine if CRPC bone metastases expressed higher levels of steroid-converting enzymes than untreated bone metastases. Steroidogenic enzyme levels were also analyzed in relation to expression of constitutively active AR variants (AR-Vs) and to clinical and pathological variables.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Untreated, hormone-naïve (HN, n?=?9) and CRPC bone metastases samples (n?=?45) were obtained from 54 patients at metastasis surgery. Non-malignant and malignant prostate samples were acquired from 13 prostatectomy specimens. Transcript and protein levels were analyzed by real-time RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. No differences in steroidogenic enzyme levels were detected between CRPC and HN bone metastases. Significantly higher levels of SRD5A1, AKR1C2, AKR1C3, and HSD17B10 mRNA were however found in bone metastases than in non-malignant and/or malignant prostate tissue, while the CYP11A1, CYP17A1, HSD3B2, SRD5A2, and HSD17B6 mRNA levels in metastases were significantly lower. A sub-group of metastases expressed very high levels of AKR1C3, which was not due to gene amplification as examined by copy number variation assay. No association was found between AKR1C3 expression and nuclear AR staining, tumor cell proliferation or patient outcome after metastases surgery. With only one exception, high AR-V protein levels were found in bone metastases with low AKR1C3 levels, while metastases with high AKR1C3 levels primarily contained low AR-V levels, indicating distinct mechanisms behind castration-resistance in individual bone metastases.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Induced capacity of converting adrenal-gland derived steroids into more potent androgens was indicated in a sub-group of PC bone metastases. This was not associated with CRPC but merely with the advanced stage of metastasis. Sub-groups of bone metastases could be identified according to their expression levels of AKR1C3 and AR-Vs, which might be of relevance for patient response to 2(nd) line androgen-deprivation therapy.
Project description:PURPOSE:Tumor androgens in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) reflect de novo intratumoral synthesis or adrenal androgens. We used C.B.-17 SCID mice in which we observed adrenal CYP17A activity to isolate the impact of adrenal steroids on CRPC tumors in vivo. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:We evaluated tumor growth and androgens in LuCaP35CR and LuCaP96CR xenografts in response to adrenalectomy (ADX). We assessed protein expression of key steroidogenic enzymes in 185 CRPC metastases from 42 patients. RESULTS:Adrenal glands of intact and castrated mice expressed CYP17A. Serum DHEA, androstenedione (AED), and testosterone (T) in castrated mice became undetectable after ADX (all P < 0.05). ADX prolonged median survival (days) in both CRPC models (33 vs. 179; 25 vs. 301) and suppressed tumor steroids versus castration alone (T 0.64 pg/mg vs. 0.03 pg/mg; DHT 2.3 pg/mg vs. 0.23 pg/mg; and T 0.81 pg/mg vs. 0.03 pg/mg, DHT 1.3 pg/mg vs. 0.04 pg/mg; all P ? 0.001). A subset of tumors recurred with increased steroid levels, and/or induction of androgen receptor (AR), truncated AR variants, and glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Metastases from 19 of 35 patients with AR positive tumors concurrently expressed enzymes for adrenal androgen utilization and nine expressed enzymes for de novo steroidogenesis (HSD3B1, CYP17A, AKR1C3, and HSD17B3). CONCLUSIONS:Mice are appropriate for evaluating adrenal impact of steroidogenesis inhibitors. A subset of ADX-resistant CRPC tumors demonstrate de novo androgen synthesis. Tumor growth and androgens were suppressed more strongly by surgical ADX than prior studies using abiraterone, suggesting reduction in adrenally-derived androgens beyond that achieved by abiraterone may have clinical benefit. Proof-of-concept studies with agents capable of achieving true "nonsurgical ADX" are warranted.
Project description:The kinetic parameters, steroid substrate specificity and identities of reaction products were determined for four homogeneous recombinant human 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3alpha-HSD) isoforms of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily. The enzymes correspond to type 1 3alpha-HSD (AKR1C4), type 2 3alpha(17beta)-HSD (AKR1C3), type 3 3alpha-HSD (AKR1C2) and 20alpha(3alpha)-HSD (AKR1C1), and share at least 84% amino acid sequence identity. All enzymes acted as NAD(P)(H)-dependent 3-, 17- and 20-ketosteroid reductases and as 3alpha-, 17beta- and 20alpha-hydroxysteroid oxidases. The functional plasticity of these isoforms highlights their ability to modulate the levels of active androgens, oestrogens and progestins. Salient features were that AKR1C4 was the most catalytically efficient, with k(cat)/K(m) values for substrates that exceeded those obtained with other isoforms by 10-30-fold. In the reduction direction, all isoforms inactivated 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (17beta-hydroxy-5alpha-androstan-3-one; 5alpha-DHT) to yield 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol (3alpha-androstanediol). However, only AKR1C3 reduced Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione to produce significant amounts of testosterone. All isoforms reduced oestrone to 17beta-oestradiol, and progesterone to 20alpha-hydroxy-pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione (20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone). In the oxidation direction, only AKR1C2 converted 3alpha-androstanediol to the active hormone 5alpha-DHT. AKR1C3 and AKR1C4 oxidized testosterone to Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione. All isoforms oxidized 17beta-oestradiol to oestrone, and 20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone to progesterone. Discrete tissue distribution of these AKR1C enzymes was observed using isoform-specific reverse transcriptase-PCR. AKR1C4 was virtually liver-specific and its high k(cat)/K(m) allows this enzyme to form 5alpha/5beta-tetrahydrosteroids robustly. AKR1C3 was most prominent in the prostate and mammary glands. The ability of AKR1C3 to interconvert testosterone with Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione, but to inactivate 5alpha-DHT, is consistent with this enzyme eliminating active androgens from the prostate. In the mammary gland, AKR1C3 will convert Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione to testosterone (a substrate aromatizable to 17beta-oestradiol), oestrone to 17beta-oestradiol, and progesterone to 20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone, and this concerted reductive activity may yield a pro-oesterogenic state. AKR1C3 is also the dominant form in the uterus and is responsible for the synthesis of 3alpha-androstanediol which has been implicated as a parturition hormone. The major isoforms in the brain, capable of synthesizing anxiolytic steroids, are AKR1C1 and AKR1C2. These studies are in stark contrast with those in rat where only a single AKR with positional- and stereo-specificity for 3alpha-hydroxysteroids exists.
Project description:Castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is associated with increased androgen receptor (AR) signaling often brought about by elevated intratumoral androgen biosynthesis and AR amplification. Inhibition of androgen biosynthesis and/or AR antagonism should be efficacious in the treatment of CRPC. AKR1C3 catalyzes the formation of potent AR ligands from inactive precursors and is one of the most upregulated genes in CRPC. AKR1C3 inhibitors should not inhibit the related isoforms, AKR1C1 and AKR1C2 that are involved in 5?-dihydrotestosterone inactivation in the prostate. We have previously developed a series of flufenamic acid analogs as potent and selective AKR1C3 inhibitors [Adeniji, A. O. et al., J. Med. Chem.2012, 55, 2311]. Here we report the X-ray crystal structure of one lead compound 3-((4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl) amino)benzoic acid (1) in complex with AKR1C3. Compound 1 adopts a similar binding orientation as flufenamic acid, however, its phenylamino ring projects deeper into a subpocket and confers selectivity over the other AKR1C isoforms. We exploited the observation that some flufenamic acid analogs also act as AR antagonists and synthesized a second generation inhibitor, 3-((4-nitronaphthalen-1-yl)amino)benzoic acid (2). Compound 2 retained nanomolar potency and selective inhibition of AKR1C3 but also acted as an AR antagonist. It inhibited 5?-dihydrotestosterone stimulated AR reporter gene activity with an IC(50)=4.7 ?M and produced a concentration dependent reduction in androgen receptor levels in prostate cancer cells. The in vitro and cell-based effects of compound 2 make it a promising lead for development of dual acting agent for CRPC. To illuminate the structural basis of AKR1C3 inhibition, we also report the crystal structure of the AKR1C3·NADP(+)·2 complex, which shows that compound 2 forms a unique double-decker structure with AKR1C3.
Project description:SULT2B1b (SULT2B) is a prostate-expressed hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase, which may regulate intracrine androgen homeostasis by mediating 3?-sulfation of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the precursor for 5?-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) biosynthesis. The aldo-keto reductase (AKR)1C3 regulates androgen receptor (AR) activity in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) by promoting tumor tissue androgen biosynthesis from adrenal DHEA and also by functioning as an AR-selective coactivator. Herein we report that SULT2B-depleted CRPC cells, arising from stable RNA interference or gene knockout (KO), are markedly upregulated for AKR1C3, activated for ERK1/2 survival signal, and induced for epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT)-like changes. EMT was evident from increased mesenchymal proteins and elevated EMT-inducing transcription factors SNAI1 and TWIST1 in immunoblot and single-cell mass cytometry analyses. SULT2B KO cells showed greater motility and invasion in vitro; growth escalation in xenograft study; and enhanced metastatic potential predicted on the basis of decreased cell stiffness and adhesion revealed from atomic force microscopy analysis. While AR and androgen levels were unchanged, AR activity was elevated, since PSA and FKBP5 mRNA induction by DHT-activated AR was several-fold higher in SULT2B-silenced cells. AKR1C3 silencing prevented ERK1/2 activation and SNAI1 induction in SULT2B-depleted cells. SULT2B was undetectable in nearly all CRPC metastases from 50 autopsy cases. Primary tumors showed variable and Gleason score (GS)-independent SULT2B levels. CRPC metastases lacking SULT2B expressed AKR1C3. Since AKR1C3 is frequently elevated in advanced prostate cancer, the inhibitory influence of SULT2B on AKR1C3 upregulation, ERK1/2 activation, EMT-like induction, and on cell motility and invasiveness may be clinically significant. Pathways regulating the inhibitory SULT2B-AKR1C3 axis may inform new avenue(s) for targeting SULT2B-deficient prostate cancer.
Project description:The endometrium is a complex, steroid-dependent tissue that undergoes dynamic cyclical remodelling. Transformation of stromal fibroblasts (ESC) into specialised secretory cells (decidualization) is fundamental to the establishment of a receptive endometrial microenvironment which can support and maintain pregnancy. Androgen receptors (AR) are present in ESC; in other tissues local metabolism of ovarian and adrenal-derived androgens regulate AR-dependent gene expression. We hypothesised that altered expression/activity of androgen biosynthetic enzymes would regulate tissue availability of bioactive androgens and the process of decidualization. Primary human ESC were treated in vitro for 1-8 days with progesterone and cAMP (decidualized) in the presence or absence of the AR antagonist flutamide. Time and treatment-dependent changes in genes essential for a) intra-tissue biosynthesis of androgens (5?-reductase/SRD5A1, aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3/AKR1C3), b) establishment of endometrial decidualization (IGFBP1, prolactin) and c) endometrial receptivity (SPP1, MAOA, EDNRB) were measured. Decidualization of ESC resulted in significant time-dependent changes in expression of AKR1C3 and SRD5A1 and secretion of T/DHT. Addition of flutamide significantly reduced secretion of IGFBP1 and prolactin and altered the expression of endometrial receptivity markers. Intracrine biosynthesis of endometrial androgens during decidualization may play a key role in endometrial receptivity and offer a novel target for fertility treatment.