Uncoupling Hepatic Oxidative Phosphorylation Reduces Tumor Growth in Two Murine Models of Colon Cancer

Cell Rep. 2018 Jul 3;24(1):47-55. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.06.008.


Obesity is associated with colon cancer pathogenesis, but the underlying mechanism is actively debated. Here, we confirm that diet-induced obesity promotes tumor growth in two murine colon cancer models and show that this effect is reversed by an orally administered controlled-release mitochondrial protonophore (CRMP) that acts as a liver-specific uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation. This agent lowered circulating insulin, and the reduction of tumor growth was abrogated by an insulin infusion raising plasma insulin to the level of high-fat-fed mice. We also demonstrate that hyperinsulinemia increases glucose uptake and oxidation in vivo in tumors and that CRMP reverses these effects. This study provides evidence that perturbations of whole-organism energy balance or hepatic energy metabolism can influence neoplastic growth. Furthermore, the data show that glucose uptake and utilization by cancers in vivo are not necessarily constitutively high but rather may vary according to the hormonal milieu.

Keywords: colon adenocarcinoma; glucose metabolism; insulin; insulin resistance; uncoupling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hyperinsulinism / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metformin / pharmacology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation* / drug effects
  • Protons


  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Protons
  • Metformin