OxLDL as an Inducer of a Metabolic Shift in Cancer Cells

Albert V. Bitorina, Yvonne Oligschlaeger, Lingling Ding, Tulasi Yadati, Annemarie Westheim, Tom Houben, Rianne D. W. Vaes, Steven W. M. Olde Damink, Jan Theys*, Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Recent evidence established a link between disturbed lipid metabolism and increased risk for cancer. One of the most prominent features related to disturbed lipid metabolism is an increased production of oxidized low-density-lipoproteins (oxLDL), which results from elevated oxidative stress. OxLDL is known to have detrimental effects on healthy cells and plays a primary role in diseases related to the metabolic syndrome. Nevertheless, so far, the exact role of oxLDL in cancer cell metabolism is not yet known. To examine changes in metabolic profile induced by oxLDL, pancreatic KLM-1 cells were treated with oxLDL in a concentration- (25 or 50 mu g/ml) and/or time-dependent (4 hr or 8 hr) manner and the impact of oxLDL on oxygen consumption rates (OCR) as well as extracellular acidification rates (ECAR) was analyzed using Seahorse technology. Subsequently, to establish the link between oxLDL and glycolysis, stabilization of the master regulator hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1 alpha) was measured by means of Western blot. Furthermore, autophagic responses were assessed by measuring protein levels of the autophagosomal marker LC3B-II. Finally, the therapeutic potential of natural anti-oxLDL IgM antibodies in reversing these effects was tested. Incubation of KLM-1 cells with oxLDL shifted the energy balance towards a more glycolytic phenotype, which is an important hallmark of cancer cells. These data were supported by measurement of increased oxLDL-mediated HIF-1 alpha stabilization. In line, oxLDL incubation also increased the levels of LC3B-II, suggesting an elevated autophagic response. Importantly, antibodies against oxLDL were able to reverse these oxLDL-mediated metabolic effects. Our data provides a novel proof-of-concept that oxLDL induces a shift in energy balance. These data not only support a role for oxLDL in the progression of cancer but also suggest the possibility of targeting oxLDL as a therapeutic option in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5817-5824
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Pancreatic cancer cells
  • oxLDL
  • metabolic switch
  • HIF-1 alpha
  • autophagy
  • RISK

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