The dark side of glucose transporters in prostate cancer: Are they a new feature to characterize carcinomas?

Int J Cancer. 2018 Jun 15;142(12):2414-2424. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31165. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


One of the hallmarks of cancer cells is the increased ability to acquire nutrients, particularly glucose and glutamine. Proliferating cells need precursors for cell growth and NADPH reducing equivalents for survival. The principal responsible for glucose uptake is facilitative glucose transporters (GLUTs), which usually are overexpressed in cancer cells. Besides their role in glucose uptake, GLUT transporters are able to transport other compounds such as dehydroascorbic acid or uric acid. They play a major role in tumor progression and cellular processes such as regulated cell death. The prostate gland has the particular characteristic of being more glycolytic than other non-pathological tissues given an accumulation of citrate in the seminal fluid and the inhibition of m-aconitase that affects to tricarboxylic acid cycle. In prostate cancer (PCa), androgens increase glucose uptake, upregulate GLUT transporters such as GLUT1 and GLUT3 and stimulate AMP-activated protein kinase pathway, suggesting a possible connection between glycolytic and androgenic signaling. Interestingly, diabetes is not a risk factor for PCa, as it is in other cancers, while insulin stimulates progression and insulin-like growth factor 1 pathway plays an important role in PCa progression. It was recently found that PCa cells overexpress GLUT4 and, more importantly, that it seems to be related to the castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) phenotype, although little is known about its participation in tumor progression. This review will focus on the role of GLUT transporters along with PCa progression, and the involvement of GLUT4 on CRPC phenotype transition would be considered.

Keywords: GLUT; glucose metabolism; glycolysis; insulin; prostate cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative