Tumoral microvesicle-activated glycometabolic reprogramming in fibroblasts promotes the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma

FASEB J. 2019 Apr;33(4):5690-5703. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802226R. Epub 2019 Jan 30.


Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer. Stromal cells could function as providers of energy metabolites for tumor cells by undergoing the "reverse Warburg effect," but the mechanism has not been fully elucidated. The interaction between the tumoral microvesicles (TMVs) and stroma in the tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in facilitating cancer progression. In this study, we demonstrated a novel mechanism for the TMV-mediated glycometabolic reprogramming of stromal cells. After being incubated with TMVs, normal human gingival fibroblasts exhibited a phenotype switch to cancer-associated fibroblasts and underwent a degradation of caveolin 1 (CAV1) through the ERK1/2-activation pathway. CAV1 degradation further induced the metabolic switch to aerobic glycolysis in the fibroblasts. The microvesicle-activated fibroblasts absorbed more glucose and produced more lactate. The migration and invasion of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) were promoted after being cocultured with the activated fibroblasts. Fibroblast-cancer cell glycometabolic coupling ring mediated by monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) 4 and MCT1 was then proved in the tumor microenvironment. Results indicated a mechanism for tumor progression by the crosstalk between tumor cells and stromal cells through the reverse Warburg effect via TMVs, thereby identifying potential targets for OSCC prevention and treatment.-Jiang, E., Xu, Z., Wang, M., Yan, T., Huang, C., Zhou, X., Liu, Q., Wang, L., Chen, Y., Wang, H., Liu, K., Shao, Z., Shang, Z. Tumoral microvesicle-activated glycometabolic reprogramming in fibroblasts promotes the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma.

Keywords: OSCC; metabolism; reverse Warburg effect; tumor microenvironment; tumor-stroma interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Caveolin 1 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Coculture Techniques / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Glycolysis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microvessels / metabolism
  • Microvessels / pathology*
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / metabolism
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • Stromal Cells / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology


  • Caveolin 1
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters
  • Lactic Acid