Research Papers:

Mitochondrial oncobioenergetic index: A potential biomarker to predict progression from indolent to aggressive prostate cancer

Praveen K. Vayalil _ and Aimee Landar

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:43065-43080. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5487

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Praveen K. Vayalil1, Aimee Landar1

1Department of Pathology, Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Center for Free Radical Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Correspondence to:

Praveen K. Vayalil, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: mitochondria, prostate cancer, oncobioenergetics, bioenergetics, mitochondrial oncobioenergetic index

Received: June 19, 2015     Accepted: September 04, 2015     Published: October 15, 2015


Mitochondrial function is influenced by alterations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and changes in the microenvironment occurring during tumorigenesis. Therefore, we hypothesized that mitochondrial function will be stably and dynamically altered at each stage of the prostate tumor development. We tested this hypothesis in RWPE-1 cells and its tumorigenic clones with progressive malignant characteristics (RWPE-1 < WPE-NA22 < WPE-NB14 < WPE-NB11 < WPE-NB26) using high-throughput respirometry. Our studies demonstrate that mitochondrial content do not change with increasing malignancy. In premalignant cells (WPE-NA22 and WPE-NB14), OXPHOS is elevated in presence of glucose or glutamine alone or in combination compared to RWPE-1 cells and decreases with increasing malignancy. Glutamine maintained higher OXPHOS than glucose and suggests that it may be an important substrate for the growth and proliferation of prostate epithelial cells. Glycolysis significantly increases with malignancy and follow a classical Warburg phenomenon. Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) is significantly lower in tumorigenic clones and invasive WPE-NB26 does not utilize FAO at all. In this paper, we introduce for the first time the mitochondrial oncobioenergetic index (MOBI), a mathematical representation of oncobioenergetic profile of a cancer cell, which increases significantly upon transformation into localized premalignant form and rapidly falls below the normal as they become aggressive in prostate tumorigenesis. We have validated this in five prostate cancer cell lines and MOBI appears to be not related to androgen dependence or mitochondrial content, but rather dependent on the stage of the cancer. Altogether, we propose that MOBI could be a potential biomarker to distinguish aggressive cancer from that of indolent disease.

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