MCT4 as a potential therapeutic target to augment gemcitabine chemosensitivity in resected pancreatic cancer

Sung Hwan Lee, Ho Kyoung Hwang, Woo Jung Lee, Chang Moo Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a high relapse rate, even in case of resectable pancreatic cancer. Here, we aimed to identify the prognostic significance and therapeutic options of metabolic subtypes of resectable pancreatic cancer. Method: Transcriptomic data were obtained from the TCGA-PAAD cohort in the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data portal (n = 182). After integrative analysis of transcriptomic data in the discovery cohort, immunohistochemical (IHC) staining was performed in an independent cohort (n = 51) to validate the molecules of interest. Experimental testing for the molecules of interest was performed in vitro using pancreatic cancer cell line models AsPC1, BxPC3, MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1. Results: Two subtypes showing distinct gene expression patterns in the TCGA-PAAD dataset were identified. Of these, the active glucose metabolism subtype showed a significantly lower survival rate related to relapse after surgical resection. The genes SLC2A1 (GLUT1) and SLC16A3 (MCT4) were highly enriched in this subtype. The validation cohort showed a high MCT4 staining and a high relapse rate (p = 0.01). Several molecular pathways associated with aggressive tumor biology, including cell cycle regulation and Myc and mTOR downstream signaling, were highly enriched in the active glucose metabolism subtype, as well as with distinct responses to immunotherapy. MCT4 inhibition suppressed the in vitro malignant characteristics of pancreatic cancer cells and showed a synergistic effect with gemcitabine treatment. Conclusions: From our data we conclude that MCT4 may serve as a potential therapeutic target in resectable pancreatic cancer. The precision medicine strategy for resectable pancreatic cancer should be validated in a clinical setting with a prospective study design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1371
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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