Glycolytic inhibition alters anaplastic thyroid carcinoma tumor metabolism and improves response to conventional chemotherapy and radiation

Vlad C. Sandulache, Heath D. Skinner, Yuan Wang, Yunyun Chen, Cristina T. Dodge, Thomas J. Ow, James A. Bankson, Jeffrey N. Myers, Stephen Y. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) accounts for more than 50% of thyroid cancer mortality and is generally refractory to conventional treatment. On the basis of recent studies, we hypothesized that ATC metabolism can be targeted to improve response to chemoradiotherapy. Eight established and authenticated ATC cell lines were sequenced at 140 sites contained within 26 commonly mutated genes to identify novel potential therapeutic targets. Cellular proliferation, energy, and reducing potential stores were measured under conditions of specific nutrient deprivation. Tumor metabolism was evaluated using hyperpolarized 13C MRI in a murine orthotopic xenograft model of ATC. Sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents and radiation (XRT) was assayed using cytotoxicity assays. We identified mutations in BRAF, NRAS, and KIT but failed to identify generalized novel targets for therapeutic intervention. ATC cell lines exhibited a mesenchymal phenotype and generalized dependence on glucose for energy, reducing potential and survival. Glycolytic inhibition using 2- deoxyglucose (2-DG) sensitized ATC cells to conventional chemotherapy and external beam radiation. In vivo, 2-DG induced a transient, but significant reduction in ATC metabolic activity. Generalized dependence ofATC cells on glucose catabolism makes them susceptible to the sensitizing effects of 2-DG for radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Under in vivo conditions, 2-DG can inhibit ATC metabolism. However, the modest magnitude and transient nature of this effect suggest the need for antimetabolic agents with more favorable pharmacodynamics to achieve therapeutic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1380
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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