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      G protein-coupled estrogen receptor activates PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling to suppress ferroptosis via SREBP1/SCD1-mediated lipogenesis


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          Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The sex differences in the occurrence and fatality rates of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), along with its association with estrogen dependence, suggest that estrogen receptors (ERs) contribute to the development of NSCLC. However, the influence of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1) on NSCLC remains to be determined. Escape from ferroptosis is one of the hallmarks of tumor discovered in recent years. In this context, the present study evaluated whether GPER1 promotes NSCLC progression by preventing ferroptosis, and the underlying mechanism through which GPER1 protects against ferroptosis was also explored.


          The effects of GPER1 on the cytotoxicity of H 2O 2, the ferroptosis inducer RSL3, and Erastin were assessed using the CCK8 assay and plate cloning. Lipid peroxidation levels were measured based on the levels of MDA and BODIPY™581/591C11. GPER1 overexpression and knockdown were performed and G1 was used, and the expression of SCD1 and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling factors was measured. Immunofluorescence analysis and immunohistochemistry were performed on paired specimens to measure the correlation between the expression of GPER1 and SCD1 in NSCLC tissues. The effect of GPER1 on the cytotoxicity of cisplatin was measured in vitro using the CCK8 assay and in vivo using xenograft tumor models.


          GPER1 and G1 alleviated the cytotoxicity of H 2O 2, reduced sensitivity to RSL3, and impaired lipid peroxidation in NSCLC tissues. In addition, GPER1 and G1 promoted the protein and mRNA expression of SCD1 and the activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling. GPER1 and SCD1 expression were elevated and positively correlated in NSCLC tissues, and high GPER1 expression predicted a poor prognosis. GPER1 knockdown enhanced the antitumor activity of cisplatin in vitro and in vivo.


          GPER1 prevents ferroptosis in NSCLC by promoting the activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling, thereby inducing SCD1 expression. Therefore, treatments targeting GPER1 combined with cisplatin would exhibit better antitumor effects.

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          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s10020-023-00763-x.

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          Most cited references43

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          Global cancer statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries

          This article provides an update on the global cancer burden using the GLOBOCAN 2020 estimates of cancer incidence and mortality produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Worldwide, an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases (18.1 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) and almost 10.0 million cancer deaths (9.9 million excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) occurred in 2020. Female breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 2.3 million new cases (11.7%), followed by lung (11.4%), colorectal (10.0 %), prostate (7.3%), and stomach (5.6%) cancers. Lung cancer remained the leading cause of cancer death, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths (18%), followed by colorectal (9.4%), liver (8.3%), stomach (7.7%), and female breast (6.9%) cancers. Overall incidence was from 2-fold to 3-fold higher in transitioned versus transitioning countries for both sexes, whereas mortality varied <2-fold for men and little for women. Death rates for female breast and cervical cancers, however, were considerably higher in transitioning versus transitioned countries (15.0 vs 12.8 per 100,000 and 12.4 vs 5.2 per 100,000, respectively). The global cancer burden is expected to be 28.4 million cases in 2040, a 47% rise from 2020, with a larger increase in transitioning (64% to 95%) versus transitioned (32% to 56%) countries due to demographic changes, although this may be further exacerbated by increasing risk factors associated with globalization and a growing economy. Efforts to build a sustainable infrastructure for the dissemination of cancer prevention measures and provision of cancer care in transitioning countries is critical for global cancer control.
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            Ferroptosis: an iron-dependent form of nonapoptotic cell death.

            Nonapoptotic forms of cell death may facilitate the selective elimination of some tumor cells or be activated in specific pathological states. The oncogenic RAS-selective lethal small molecule erastin triggers a unique iron-dependent form of nonapoptotic cell death that we term ferroptosis. Ferroptosis is dependent upon intracellular iron, but not other metals, and is morphologically, biochemically, and genetically distinct from apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy. We identify the small molecule ferrostatin-1 as a potent inhibitor of ferroptosis in cancer cells and glutamate-induced cell death in organotypic rat brain slices, suggesting similarities between these two processes. Indeed, erastin, like glutamate, inhibits cystine uptake by the cystine/glutamate antiporter (system x(c)(-)), creating a void in the antioxidant defenses of the cell and ultimately leading to iron-dependent, oxidative death. Thus, activation of ferroptosis results in the nonapoptotic destruction of certain cancer cells, whereas inhibition of this process may protect organisms from neurodegeneration. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Ferroptosis: mechanisms, biology and role in disease

              The research field of ferroptosis has seen exponential growth over the past few years, since the term was coined in 2012. This unique modality of cell death, driven by iron-dependent phospholipid peroxidation, is regulated by multiple cellular metabolic pathways, including redox homeostasis, iron handling, mitochondrial activity and metabolism of amino acids, lipids and sugars, in addition to various signalling pathways relevant to disease. Numerous organ injuries and degenerative pathologies are driven by ferroptosis. Intriguingly, therapy-resistant cancer cells, particularly those in the mesenchymal state and prone to metastasis, are exquisitely vulnerable to ferroptosis. As such, pharmacological modulation of ferroptosis, via both its induction and its inhibition, holds great potential for the treatment of drug-resistant cancers, ischaemic organ injuries and other degenerative diseases linked to extensive lipid peroxidation. In this Review, we provide a critical analysis of the current molecular mechanisms and regulatory networks of ferroptosis, the potential physiological functions of ferroptosis in tumour suppression and immune surveillance, and its pathological roles, together with a potential for therapeutic targeting. Importantly, as in all rapidly evolving research areas, challenges exist due to misconceptions and inappropriate experimental methods. This Review also aims to address these issues and to provide practical guidelines for enhancing reproducibility and reliability in studies of ferroptosis. Finally, we discuss important concepts and pressing questions that should be the focus of future ferroptosis research.

                Author and article information

                Mol Med
                Mol Med
                Molecular Medicine
                BioMed Central (London )
                21 February 2024
                21 February 2024
                : 30
                : 28
                [1 ]GRID grid.33199.31, ISNI 0000 0004 0368 7223, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, , Huazhong University of Science and Technology, ; Wuhan, 430022 China
                [2 ]GRID grid.517582.c, ISNI 0000 0004 7475 8949, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, , Third Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University (Yunnan Cancer Hospital), ; Kunming, China
                [3 ]Department of Thoracic Surgery, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong First Medical University, ( https://ror.org/05jb9pq57) Jinan, China
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2024

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 26 August 2023
                : 25 November 2023
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China;
                Award ID: No. 82072593
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Department of Science and Technology of Hubei Province
                Award ID: 2020BCB027
                Award Recipient :
                Research Article
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                © The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2024

                nsclc,gper1,ferroptosis,cisplatin and scd1
                nsclc, gper1, ferroptosis, cisplatin and scd1


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