PHGDH expression is required for mitochondrial redox homeostasis, breast cancer stem cell maintenance, and lung metastasis

Debangshu Samanta, Youngrok Park, Shaida A. Andrabi, Laura M. Shelton, Daniele M. Gilkes, Gregg L. Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intratumoral hypoxia stimulates enrichment of breast cancer stem cells (BCSC), which are critical for metastasis and patient mortality. Here we report a metabolic adaptation that is required for hypoxia-induced BCSC enrichment and metastasis. Hypoxia-inducible factors coordinately regulate expression of genes encoding phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH) and five downstream enzymes in the serine synthesis pathway and mitochondrial one-carbon (folate) cycle. RNAi-mediated silencing of PHGDH expression in both estrogen receptor-positive and negative breast cancer cells led to decreased NADPH levels, disturbed mitochondrial redox homeostasis, and increased apoptosis, which abrogated BCSC enrichment under hypoxic conditions. PHGDH-deficient cells exhibited increased oxidant levels and apoptosis, as well as loss of BCSC enrichment, in response to treatment with carboplatin or doxorubicin. PHGDH-deficient cells were relatively weakly tumorigenic and tumors that did form were deficient in BCSCs, abolishing metastatic capacity. Our findings highlight a role for PHGDH in the formation of secondary (recurrent or metastatic) tumors, with potential implications for therapeutic targeting of advanced cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4430-4442
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Volume76
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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