Activation of LXRɑ/β by cholesterol in malignant ascites promotes chemoresistance in ovarian cancer
The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of malignant ascites tumor microenvironment in ovarian cancer progression and chemoresistance. Methods: A total of 45 patients with ovarian cancer and three benign ascites were collected at the time of clinical intervention. Ascites cholesterol levels were quantitated using cholesterol quantitation kit and recurrence free survival (RFS) of ovarian cancer patients were collected. The sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin (CDDP) and
... isplatin (CDDP) and paclitaxel (PAC) were assessed by viability assay, flow cytometry and protein expression. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve and Youden index analysis were applied to calculate the optimal cut-off values for ascites cholesterol. Kaplan-Meier curve were applied to compare RFS between high and low ascites cholesterol levels in ovarian cancer patients. Results: Here we show that cholesterol is elevated in malignant ascites and modulates the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to CDDP and PAC by upregulating the expression of drug efflux pump proteins, ABCG2 and MDR1, together with upregulation of LXRɑ/β, the cholesterol receptor. Transfection of LXRɑ/β siRNA inhibited cholesterolinduced chemoresistance and upregulation of MDR1. In addition, the cholesterol level in malignant ascites was negatively correlated with number of CDDP-induced apoptotic cell death, but not with that of PAC-induced apoptotic cell death. Cholesterol depletion by methyl beta cyclodextrin (MβCD) inhibited malignant ascites-induced chemoresistance to CDDP and upregulation of MDR1 and LXRɑ/β. For patients with ovarian cancer, high cholesterol level in malignant ascites correlated with short RFS. Conclusions: High cholesterol in malignant ascites contributes to poor prognosis in ovarian cancer patients, partly by contributing to multidrug resistance through upregulation of MDR1 via activation of LXRɑ/β.