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Differentiation-associated urothelial cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase predicates the xenobiotic-metabolizing activity of “luminal” muscle-invasive bladder cancers

Publication date: 

16 Apr 2018


DOI: 10.1002/mc.22784


Simon C. Baker, Volker M. Arlt, Radek Indra, Madeleine Joel, Marie Stiborová, Ian Eardley, Niaz Ahmad, Wolfgang Otto, Maximilian Burger, Peter Rubenwolf, David H. Phillips, Jennifer Southgate

Publication type: 



Extra-hepatic metabolism of xenobiotics by epithelial tissues has evolved as a selfdefence mechanism but has potential to contribute to the local activation of carcinogens. Bladder epithelium (urothelium) is bathed in excreted urinary toxicants and pro-carcinogens. This study reveals how differentiation affects cytochrome P450 (CYP) activity and the role of NADPH:P450 oxidoreductase (POR). CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 transcripts were inducible in normal human urothelial (NH5U) cells maintained in both undifferentiated and functional barrier-forming differentiated states in vitro. However, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation (EROD) activity, the generation of reactive BaP metabolites and BaP-DNA adducts, were predominantly detected in differentiated NHU cell cultures. This gain-of-function was attributable to the expression of POR, an essential electron donor for all CYPs, which was significantly
upregulated as part of urothelial differentiation. Immunohistology of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) revealed significant overall suppression of POR expression. Stratification of MIBC biopsies into “luminal” and “basal” groups, based on GATA3 and cytokeratin 5/6 labeling, showed POR over-expression by a subgroup of the differentiated luminal tumors. In bladder cancer cell lines, CYP1-activity was undetectable/low in basal PORlo T24 and SCaBER cells and higher in the luminal POR over-expressing RT4 and RT112 cells than in differentiated NHU cells, indicating that CYP-function is related to differentiation status in bladder cancers. This study establishes POR as a predictive biomarker of metabolic potential. This has implications in bladder carcinogenesis for the hepatic versus local activation of carcinogens and as a functional predictor of the potential for MIBC to respond to prodrug therapies.