Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is responsible for most cases of the kidney cancer. Previous research showed that low serum levels of cholesterol level positively correlate with poorer RCC-specific survival outcomes. However, the underlying mechanisms and functional significance of the role of cholesterol in the development of RCC remain obscure. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) plays a pivotal role in RCC development as it is the key rate-limiting enzyme of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. In this study, we demonstrated that the inhibition of HMGCR could accelerate the development of RCC tumors by lactate accumulation and angiogenesis in animal models. We identified that the inhibition of HMGCR led to an increase in glycolysis via the regulated HSP90 expression levels, thus maintaining the levels of a glycolysis rate-limiting enzyme, pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2). Based on these findings, we reversed the HMGCR inhibition-induced tumor growth acceleration in RCC xenograft mice by suppressing glycolysis. Furthermore, the coadministration of Shikonin, a potent PKM2 inhibitor, reverted the tumor development induced by the HMGCR signaling pathway.
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