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Upregulation of Scavenger Receptor B1 Is Required for Steroidogenic and Non-Steroidogenic Cholesterol Metabolism in Prostate Cancer

By May 20, 2019No Comments

Aberrant cholesterol metabolism is increasingly appreciated to be essential for prostate cancer (PCa) initiation and progression. Transcript expression of the high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol receptor scavenger receptor B1 (SR-B1) is elevated in primary PCa. Hypothesizing that SR-B1 expression may help facilitate malignant transformation, we document increased SR-B1 protein and transcript expression in PCa relative to normal prostate epithelium that persists in lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) metastasis. As intratumoral steroid synthesis from the precursor cholesterol can drive androgen receptor (AR) pathway activity in CRPC, we screened androgenic benign and cancer cell lines for sensitivity to SR-B1 antagonism. Benign cells were insensitive to SR-B1 antagonism, and cancer line sensitivity inversely correlated with expression levels of full-length and splice-variant AR. In androgen-responsive CRPC cell model C4-2, SR-B1 antagonism suppressed cholesterol uptake, de novo steroidogenesis, and AR activity. SR-B1 antagonism also suppressed growth and viability and induced endoplasmic reticulum stress and autophagy. The inability of exogenous steroids to reverse these effects indicates that AR pathway activation is insufficient to overcome cytotoxic stress caused by a decrease in the availability of cholesterol. Furthermore, SR-B1 antagonism decreased cholesterol uptake, growth, and viability of the AR-null CRPC cell model PC-3, and the small molecule SR-BI antagonist Block Lipid Transport-1 decreased xenograft growth rate despite poor pharmacologic properties. Overall, our findings show that SR-B1 is upregulated in primary and castration-resistant disease and is essential for cholesterol uptake needed to drive both steroidogenic and non-steroidogenic biogenic pathways, thus implicating SR-B1 as a novel and potentially actionable target in CRPC.