MCT4 regulates de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis in GBM in a lactate-independent manner

Raffaella Spina, Dillon M. Voss, Xiaohua Yang, Jason W. Sohn, Robert Vinkler, Julianna Schraner, Anthony Sloan, Scott M. Welford, Norbert Avril, Heather M. Ames, Graeme F. Woodworth, Eli E. Bar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Necrotic foci with surrounding hypoxic cellular pseudopalisades and microvascular hyperplasia are histological features found in glioblastoma (GBM). We have previously shown that monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) is highly expressed in necrotic/hypoxic regions in GBM and that increased levels of MCT4 are associated with worse clinical outcomes. Methods: A combined transcriptomics and metabolomics analysis was performed to study the effects of MCT4 depletion in hypoxic GBM neurospheres. Stable and inducible MCT4-depletion systems were used to evaluate the effects of and underlining mechanisms associated with MCT4 depletion in vitro and in vivo, alone and in combination with radiation. Results: This study establishes that conditional depletion of MCT4 profoundly impairs self-renewal and reduces the frequency and tumorigenicity of aggressive, therapy-resistant, glioblastoma stem cells. Mechanistically, we observed that MCT4 depletion induces anaplerotic glutaminolysis and abrogates de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis. The latter results in a dramatic increase in DNA damage and apoptotic cell death, phenotypes that were readily rescued by pyrimidine nucleosides supplementation. Consequently, we found that MCT4 depletion promoted a significant prolongation of survival of animals bearing established orthotopic xenografts, an effect that was extended by adjuvant treatment with focused radiation. Conclusions: Our findings establish a novel role for MCT4 as a critical regulator of cellular deoxyribonucleotide levels and provide a new therapeutic direction related to MCT4 depletion in GBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbervdz062
JournalNeuro-Oncology Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • glioma stem cells
  • hypoxia
  • MCT4
  • pyrimidine
  • radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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