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Neoplasia. 2006 Oct;8(10):851-61.

Cellular and molecular consequences of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma activation in ovarian cancer cells.

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Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, Bellinzona, Switzerland.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) is a ligand-activated transcription factor. In addition to its canonical role in lipid and glucose metabolism, PPAR-gamma controls cell proliferation, death, and differentiation in several tissues. Here we have examined the expression of PPAR-gamma in ovarian tumors and the cellular and molecular consequences of its activation in ovarian cancer cells. PPAR-gamma was expressed in a large number of epithelial ovarian tumors and cell lines. The PPAR-gamma ligand ciglitazone inhibited the growth and clonogenic survival of ovarian cancer cells, inducing cell cycle arrest and cell death. Growth inhibition by ciglitazone was reversed by the PPAR-gamma antagonist GW9662, indicating the involvement of PPAR-gamma-dependent mechanisms. Microarray-based gene profiling revealed complex changes in the transcriptional program of ovarian cancer cells on treatment with ciglitazone and identified multiple pathways that may contribute to PPAR-gamma ligands' antitumor activity. Genes upregulated by ciglitazone were predominantly associated with metabolic, differentiation, and tumor-suppressor pathways, whereas downregulated genes were involved in cell proliferation, cell cycle, cell organization, and steroid biosynthesis. Collectively, our data indicate that PPAR-gamma activation by selective agonists is a valid strategy for ovarian cancer therapy and prevention, and should be tested alone and in combination with other anticancer drugs.

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