• The Role of Eicosanoids in Gynecological Malignancies

      Smith, Paige G.; Roque, Dana; Ching, Mc Millan; Fulton, Amy; Rao, Gautam; Reader, Jocelyn C. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2020-08-26)
      Eicosanoids, bio-active lipid molecules, evoke a multitude of biological effects that directly affect cancer cells and indirectly affect tumor microenvironment. An emerging role has been shown for eicosanoids in the pathogenesis of gynecological malignancies which include cancers of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterine, and ovary. Eicosanoid biosynthesis pathways start at the metabolism of phospholipids by phospholipase A2 then proceeding to one of three pathways: the cyclooxygenase (COX), lipoxygenase (LOX), or P450 epoxygenase pathways. The most studied eicosanoid pathways include COX and LOX; however, more evidence is appearing to support further study of the P450 epoxygenase pathway in gynecologic cancers. In this review, we present the current knowledge of the role of COX, LOX and P450 pathways in the pathogenesis of gynecologic malignancies. Vulvar and vaginal cancer, the rarest subtypes, there is association of COX-2 expression with poor disease specific survival in vulvar cancer and, in vaginal cancer, COX-2 expression has been found to play a role in mucosal inflammation leading to disease susceptibility and transmission. Cervical cancer is associated with COX-2 levels 7.4 times higher than in healthy tissues. Additionally, HPV elevates COX-2 levels through the EGFR pathway and HIV promotes elevated COX-2 levels in cervical tissue as well as increases PGE2 levels eliciting inflammation and progression of cancer. Evidence supports significant roles for both the LOX and COX pathways in uterine cancer. In endometrial cancer, there is increased expression of 5-LOX which is associated with adverse outcomes. Prostanoids in the COX pathway PGE2 and PGF2α have been shown to play a significant role in uterine cancer including alteration of proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion, angiogenesis, and the inflammatory microenvironment. The most studied gynecological malignancy in regard to the potential role of eicosanoids in tumorigenesis is ovarian cancer in which all three pathways have shown to be associated or play a role in ovarian tumorigenesis directly on the tumor cell or through modulation of the tumor microenvironment. By identifying the gaps in knowledge, additional pathways and targets could be identified in order to obtain a better understanding of eicosanoid signaling in gynecological malignancies and identify potential new therapeutic approaches.