Altered production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing lipid peroxidation and DNA damage, contributes to the progression of atherosclerosis and cancer. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) is a lectin-like receptor for oxidized low-density lipoproteins (ox-LDL) primarily expressed in endothelial cells and vasculature-rich organs. LOX-1 receptors is a marker for atherosclerosis, and once activated by ox-LDL or other ligands, stimulates the expression of adhesion molecules, pro-inflammatory signaling pathways and proangiogenic proteins, including NF-kB and VEGF, in vascular endothelial cells and macrophages. Several different types of cancer reported LOX-1 gene upregulation, and numerous interplays exist concerning LOX-1 in atherosclerosis, metabolic diseases and cancer. One of them involves NF-kB, an oncogenic protein that regulates the transcription of several inflammatory genes response. In a model of cellular transformation, the MCF10A ER-Src, inhibition of LOX-1 gene reduces NF-kB activation and the inflammatory and hypoxia pathways, suggesting a mechanistic connection between cellular transformation and atherosclerosis. The remodeling proteins MMP-2 and MMP-9 have been found increased in angiogenesis in atherosclerotic plaque and also in human prostate cancer cells.
In this review, we outlined the role of LOX-1 in atherogenesis and tumorigenesis as a potential link in these diseases, suggesting that LOX-1 inhibition could represent a promising strategy in the treatment of atherosclerosis and tumors.