Research Papers:

Targeting lactate transport suppresses in vivo breast tumour growth

Filipa Morais-Santos _, Sara Granja, Vera Miranda-Gonçalves, António H.J. Moreira, Sandro Queirós, João L. Vilaça, Fernando C. Schmitt, Adhemar Longatto-Filho, Joana Paredes, Fátima Baltazar and Céline Pinheiro

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:19177-19189. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3910

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Filipa Morais-Santos1,2, Sara Granja1,2, Vera Miranda-Gonçalves1,2, António H.J. Moreira1,2, Sandro Queirós1,2, João L. Vilaça1,2,3, Fernando C. Schmitt4,5,6, Adhemar Longatto-Filho1,2,7,8, Joana Paredes4, Fátima Baltazar1,2,*, Céline Pinheiro1,2,7,9,*

1Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal

2ICVS/3B’s - PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal

3DIGARC - Technology School, Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Barcelos, Portugal

4IPATIMUP - Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

5Medical Faculty of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

6Department of Pathology and Medicine, Laboratoire National de Sante, Dudelange, Luxembourg

7Molecular Oncology Research Center, Barretos Cancer Hospital, Barretos, Sao Paulo, Brazil

8Laboratory of Medical Investigation (LIM-14), School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

9Barretos School of Health Sciences, Dr. Paulo Prata - FACISB, Barretos, Sao Paulo, Brazil

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Céline Pinheiro, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: monocarboxylate transporters, breast carcinoma, hypoxia, lactate, Warburg effect

Received: January 21, 2015     Accepted: May 04, 2015     Published: May 14, 2015


Background: Most cancers, including breast cancer, have high rates of glucose consumption, associated with lactate production, a process referred as “Warburg effect”. Acidification of the tumour microenvironment by lactate extrusion, performed by lactate transporters (MCTs), is associated with higher cell proliferation, migration, invasion, angiogenesis and increased cell survival. Previously, we have described MCT1 up-regulation in breast carcinoma samples and demonstrated the importance of in vitro MCT inhibition. In this study, we performed siRNA knockdown of MCT1 and MCT4 in basal-like breast cancer cells in both normoxia and hypoxia conditions to validate the potential of lactate transport inhibition in breast cancer treatment.

Results: The effect of MCT knockdown was evaluated on lactate efflux, proliferation, cell biomass, migration and invasion and induction of tumour xenografts in nude mice. MCT knockdown led to a decrease in in vitro tumour cell aggressiveness, with decreased lactate transport, cell proliferation, migration and invasion and, importantly, to an inhibition of in vivo tumour formation and growth.

Conclusions: This work supports MCTs as promising targets in cancer therapy, demonstrates the contribution of MCTs to cancer cell aggressiveness and, more importantly, shows, for the first time, the disruption of in vivo breast tumour growth by targeting lactate transport.

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