Background: (18)Fluor-deoxy-glucose PET-scanning of glycolytic metabolism is being used for staging in many tumors however its impact on prognosis has never been studied in breast cancer.
Methods: Glycolytic and hypoxic markers: glucose transporter (GLUT1), carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), monocarboxylate transporter 1 and 4 (MCT1, 4), MCT accessory protein basigin and lactate-dehydrogenase A (LDH-A) were assessed by immunohistochemistry in two cohorts of breast cancer comprising 643 node-negative and 127 triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) respectively.
Results: In the 643 node-negative breast tumor cohort with a median follow-up of 124 months, TNBC were the most glycolytic (≈70%), followed by Her-2 (≈50%) and RH-positive cancers (≈30%). Tumoral MCT4 staining (without stromal staining) was a strong independent prognostic factor for metastasis-free survival (HR=0.47, P=0.02) and overall-survival (HR=0.38, P=0.002). These results were confirmed in the independent cohort of 127 cancer patients.
Conclusion: Glycolytic markers are expressed in all breast tumors with highest expression occurring in TNBC. MCT4, the hypoxia-inducible lactate/H(+) symporter demonstrated the strongest deleterious impact on survival. We propose that MCT4 serves as a new prognostic factor in node-negative breast cancer and can perhaps act soon as a theranostic factor considering the current pharmacological development of MCT4 inhibitors.
Keywords: Glycolysis; Hypoxia; MCT4; Monocarboxylate transporters; Triple negative breast cancer.
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