Transcriptional profiling of two isogenic models of transformation identifies a gene signature linking cancer with inflammatory and metabolic diseases. In accord with this common transcriptional program, many drugs used for treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases inhibit transformation and tumor growth. Unexpectedly, lipid metabolism genes are important for transformation and are upregulated in cancer tissues. As in atherosclerosis, oxidized LDL and its receptor OLR1 activate the inflammatory pathway through NF-kappaB, leading to transformation. OLR1 is important for maintaining the transformed state in developmentally diverse cancer cell lines and for tumor growth, suggesting a molecular connection between cancer and atherosclerosis. We suggest that the interplay between this common transcriptional program and cell-type-specific factors gives rise to phenotypically disparate human diseases.
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