The role and therapeutic significance of monocarboxylate transporters in prostate cancer

  • Laura Hutchinson

Student thesis: Phd


It has been shown that tumour cells are capable of switching to glycolytic metabolism for the production of ATP even in the presence of oxygen, this is known as aerobic glycolysis or the 'Warburg effect'. The glycolytic phenotype has been associated with tumour aggressiveness and poor outcome in several cancer types. This makes the area of cancer metabolism an attractive area for the potential identification of new therapeutic targets. One key component, required for cells to maintain the glycolytic phenotype, is the presence of monocarboxylate transporters that are capable of exporting lactate. These transporters are vital for the maintenance of the intracellular pH of cells under these conditions.This study was centred around the hypothesis that altering expression of MCTs would impact on the metabolism of tumour cells and, therefore, other key characteristics of cells relating to metastatic capabilities and survival following treatment. For the purpose of this work, prostate cancer cell lines were transfected with lentiviral particles targeting overexpression of MCT1 or MCT4, or knockdown of MCT4. Following transfection, cellular metabolic profiles were assessed under normoxic and hypoxic conditions and the metastatic phenotype of each cell line was investigated. Additionally, the effect of MCT expression on response to chemotherapy and radiation therapy was explored, and a siRNA metabolome screen was performed to identify combinations of targets that may produce synthetic lethality in prostate cancer cell lines.It was shown that changes in the expression of MCT1 or MCT4 did not cause significant changes in the metastatic phenotypes of the prostate cancer cell lines investigated. Some differences were observed in the metabolic pathways used by these prostate cancer cells following alterations in MCT expression. For example, overexpression of MCT1 in DU145 cells resulted in an increase in intracellular lactate. Additionally, MCT4 knockdown in PC3 cells was able to reduce OXPHOS under reduced oxygen. MCT1 overexpression was able to sensitise androgen-independent prostate cancer cells to treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Furthermore, combinations of siRNA treatments were identified that may be capable of producing synthetic lethality.In summary, findings in this study indicated that targeting MCT1 and MCT4 expression could offer therapeutic benefit in prostate cancer. However, it was also highlighted that the roles of these transporters are specific to cancer type, and even cell line.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIan Stratford (Supervisor) & Costas Demonacos (Supervisor)


  • MCT1
  • MCT4
  • Metabolism
  • Hypoxia
  • Monocarboxylate transporters
  • Prostate cancer

Cite this