Tumor oxygenation and acidification are increased in melanoma xenografts after exposure to hyperglycemia and meta-iodo-benzylguanidine

Radiat Res. 2003 Mar;159(3):328-35. doi: 10.1667/0033-7587(2003)159[0328:toaaai]2.0.co;2.


Tumor oxygen tension and extracellular pH (pH(e)) are physiological parameters that can be manipulated to improve current cancer therapies. Many human tumors consist of cells that are chronically exposed to low pH(e). Exposure of tumor cells in culture to glucose decreases oxygen consumption (oxygen sparing or Crabtree effect), and while this effect is absent in low pH-adapted tumor cells, it can be restored by combining the respiratory inhibitor meta-iodo-benzylguanidine (MIBG) with glucose (Burd et al., Cancer Res. 61, 5630-5635, 2001). The effects of hyperglycemia and MIBG on tumor oxygen tension and on pH(e) were investigated in human melanoma xenografts in SCID mice. An oral gavage of 1 M glucose (2 g/kg) increased the average blood glucose concentration from <140 mg/dl to approximately 400 mg/dl. Although tumor pH(e) decreased from pH 6.7 to pH 6.5 (P < 0.01) after about 60 min, no change in tumor oxygen tension was observed. However, when oral glucose and MIBG (15 mg/kg) were administered together, oxygen tension increased from 2.8 mmHg to approximately 17 mmHg, and tumor pH(e) decreased from pH 6.7 to pH 6.3 (P < 0.01) after about 115 min. In conclusion, administration of glucose together with MIBG increases tumor oxygen tension and also increases the magnitude and duration of acidification. Hyperglycemia plus MIBG has the potential to improve response to radiation therapy as well as to hyperthermia and some chemotherapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Guanidines / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Hyperglycemia / pathology
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Guanidines
  • benzylguanidine
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen