High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the predominant protein in plasma HDL, have long been the focus of intense studies in the field of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. ApoA-I, in large part, is responsible for HDL assembly and its main atheroprotective function, that of shuttling excess cholesterol from peripheral tissues to the liver for excretion (reverse cholesterol transport). Recently, a protective role for HDL in cancer was suggested from several large clinical studies where an inverse relationship between plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and risk of developing cancer was noted. This notion has now been tested and found to be supported in mouse tumor studies, where increasing levels of apoA-I/HDL were discovered to protect against tumor development and provision of human apoA-I was therapeutic against established tumors. This mini-review discusses the emerging role of apoA-I in tumor biology and its potential as cancer therapeutic.
Keywords: HDL; apoA-I; cancer; cancer therapeutic; cholesterol homeostasis; macrophage; peptide mimetics.