Published Research - Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



Cancer Res. 2009 March 15; 69(6): 2332–2339.


© 2009 American Association for Cancer Research


UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UGDH) oxidizes UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronate, an essential precursor for production of hyaluronan (HA), proteoglycans, and xenobiotic glucuronides. High levels of HA turnover in prostate cancer are correlated with aggressive progression. UGDH expression is high in the normal prostate even though HA accumulation is virtually undetectable. Thus, its normal role in the prostate may be to provide precursors for glucuronosyltransferase enzymes, which inactivate and solubilize androgens by glucuronidation. In this report, we quantified androgen dependence of UGDH, glucuronosyltransferase, and HA synthase expression. Androgen dependent and independent human prostate cancer cell lines were used to test the effects of UGDH manipulation on tumor cell growth, HA production and androgen glucuronidation. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increased UGDH expression ≈2.5-fold in androgen dependent cells. However, upregulation of UGDH did not affect HA synthase expression or enhance HA production. Mass spectrometric analysis showed that DHT was converted to a glucuronide, DHT-G, at a six-fold higher level in androgen dependent cells relative to androgen independent cells. The increased solubilization and elimination of DHT corresponded to slower cellular growth kinetics, which could be reversed in androgen dependent cells by treatment with a UDP-glucuronate scavenger. Collectively, these results suggest that dysregulated expression of UGDH could promote the development of androgen independent tumor cell growth by increasing available levels of intracellular androgen.