Cholesterol is a pivotal factor for cancer cells to entertain their relentless growth. In this case, we provide a novel strategy to inhibit tumor growth by simultaneous activation of liver-X-receptors and interference with Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-associated Protein 1 (TRAP1). Informed by a transcriptomic and subsequent gene set enrichment analysis, we demonstrate that inhibition of TRAP1 results in suppression of the cholesterol synthesis pathway in stem-like and established glioblastoma (GBM) cells by destabilizing the transcription factor SREBP2. Notably, TRAP1 inhibition induced cell death, which was rescued by cholesterol and mevalonate. Activation of liver X receptor (LXR) by a clinically validated LXR agonist, LXR623, along with the TRAP1 inhibitor, gamitrinib (GTPP), results in synergistic reduction of tumor growth and cell death induction in a broad range of solid tumors, which is rescued by exogenous cholesterol. The LXR agonist and TRAP1 inhibitor mediated cell death is regulated at the level of Bcl-2 family proteins with an elevation of pro-apoptotic Noxa. Silencing of Noxa and its effector BAK attenuates cell death mediated by the combination treatment of LXR agonists and TRAP1 inhibition. Combined inhibition of TRAP1 and LXR agonists elicits a synergistic activation of the integrated stress response with an increase in activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) driven by protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK). Silencing of ATF4 attenuates the increase of Noxa by using the combination treatment. Lastly, we demonstrate in patient-derived xenografts that the combination treatment of LXR623 and gamitrinib reduces tumor growth more potent than each compound. Taken together, these results suggest that TRAP1 inhibition and simultaneous activation of LXR might be a potent novel treatment strategy for solid malignancies.
Nguyen, Trang Thi Thu; Ishida, Chiaki Tsuge; Shang, Enyuan; Shu, Chang; Bianchetti, Elena; Karpel-Massler, Georg; and Siegelin, Markus D., "Activation of LXR Receptors and Inhibition of TRAP1 Causes Synthetic Lethality in Solid Tumors" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.