UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Pharmacological Significance of Heme Oxygenase 1 in Prostate Cancer Ben-Eltriki, Mohamed; Gayle, Erysa J.; Walker, Noah; Deb, Subrata


Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) is a detoxifying antioxidant microsomal enzyme that regulates inflammation, apoptosis, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis in prostate cancer (PCa). This makes HO-1 a promising target for therapeutic prevention and treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to control redox homeostasis. Clinical evidence highlights the possible correlation between HO-1 expression and PCa growth, aggressiveness, metastasized tumors, resistance to therapy, and poor clinical outcomes. Interestingly, studies have reported anticancer benefits mediated by both HO-1 induction and inhibition in PCa models. Contrasting evidence exists on the role of HO-1 in PCa progression and possible treatment targets. Herein, we provide an overview of available evidence on the clinical significance of HO-1 signaling in PCa. It appears that the beneficial effects of HO-1 induction or inhibition are dependent on whether it is a normal versus malignant cell as well as the intensity (major vs. minor) of the increase in HO-1 enzymatic activity. The current literature evidence indicates that HO-1 has dual effects in PCa. The amount of cellular iron and reactive oxygen species (ROS) can determine the role of HO-1 in PCa. A major increase in ROS enforces HO-1 to a protective role. HO-1 overexpression may provide cryoprotection to normal cells against oxidative stress via suppressing the expression of proinflammatory genes, and thus offer therapeutic prevention. In contrast, a moderate increase in ROS can lead to the perpetrator role of HO-1, which is associated with PCa progression and metastasis. HO-1 inhibition by xenobiotics in DNA-damaged cells tilts the balance to promote apoptosis and inhibit PCa proliferation and metastasis. Overall, the totality of the evidence revealed that HO-1 may play a dual role in the therapeutic prevention and treatment of PCa.

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