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Inhibition of PPARα Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis, and Synergizes with Glycolysis Inhibition in Kidney Cancer Cells


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the sixth most common cancer in the US. While RCC is highly metastatic, there are few therapeutics options available for patients with metastatic RCC, and progression-free survival of patients even with the newest targeted therapeutics is only up to two years. Thus, novel therapeutic targets for this disease are desperately needed. Based on our previous metabolomics studies showing alteration of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) related events in both RCC patient and xenograft mice materials, this pathway was further examined in the current study in the setting of RCC. PPARα is a nuclear receptor protein that functions as a transcription factor for genes including those encoding enzymes involved in energy metabolism; while PPARα has been reported to regulate tumor growth in several cancers, it has not been evaluated in RCC. A specific PPARα antagonist, GW6471, induced both apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 in VHL(+) and VHL(-) RCC cell lines (786-O and Caki-1) associated with attenuation of the cell cycle regulatory proteins c-Myc, Cyclin D1, and CDK4; this data was confirmed as specific to PPARα antagonism by siRNA methods. Interestingly, when glycolysis was blocked by several methods, the cytotoxicity of GW6471 was synergistically increased, suggesting a switch to fatty acid oxidation from glycolysis and providing an entirely novel therapeutic approach for RCC.

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