Genes & Cancer

Distinct cholesterogenic and lipidogenic gene expression patterns in ovarian cancer - a new pool of biomarkers

Georgios Pampalakis1, Angeliki-Louiza Politi1, Anastasios Papanastasiou1 and Georgia Sotiropoulou1

1 Department of Pharmacy, School of Health Sciences, University of Patras, Rion-Patras, Greece


Georgia Sotiropoulou, email:

Keywords: ovarian cancer, biomarker, cholesterol homeostasis, lipid homeostasis

Received: August 27, 2015 Accepted: November 10, 2015 Published: November 13, 2015


Cancer cells display different metabolic requirements compared to nonmalignant cells imposed by their need for rapid proliferation. Alterations in cellular metabolic pathways of lipid and cholesterol synthesis have been linked to tumorigenesis and cancer progression but have not been exploited in clinical diagnosis. Here, the expression of genes related to cholesterol/lipid metabolism was measured with semiquantitative and real-time RT-PCR in RNA isolated from normal, benign and cancer ovarian tissues. We found that both SREBF2 and its target gene DHCR7 are downregulated in ovarian cancer tissues. On the contrary, SREBF1c and its target SCD1 were upregulated. The steroidogenesis regulator PDE8B was found downregulated. Oncomine analysis supported these findings, and further revealed that in ovarian cancers, the SREBF1-regulated lipidogenic pathway is activated while the SREBF2-regulated cholesterogenic pathway is repressed based on expression profiles of HMGCR and DHCR7. In conclusion, we show that ovarian cancer cells display distinct lipidogenic and cholesterogenic gene expression profiles with potential applications in the development of new biomarkers and/or treatment of ovarian cancer. Reduced cholesterol and enhanced lipid synthesis and SCD1 expression may provide an explanation for the previously reported increased membrane fluidity of ovarian cancer cells, a finding that merits further investigation.

PII: 87