Sodium-coupled monocarboxylate transporter is a target of epigenetic repression in cervical cancer

Int J Oncol. 2019 May;54(5):1613-1624. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2019.4749. Epub 2019 Mar 14.


The SLC5A8 gene encodes Na monocarboxylate transporter 1, which is epigenetically inactivated in various tumour types. This has been attributed to the fact that it prevents the entry of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and favours the metabolic reprogramming of neoplastic cells. Nevertheless, its expression and regulation in cervical cancer (CC) have not been elucidated to date. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether SLC5A8 expression is silenced in CC and if epigenetic mechanisms are involved in its regulation. Using RNA and DNA from human CC cell lines and tumour tissues from patients with CC, the expression of SLC5A8 was analysed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and the methylation status of its CpG island (CGI) by bisulphite‑modified sequencing. Additionally, SLC5A8 reactivation was examined in the CC cell lines following treatment with DNA methylation (5‑aza‑2'‑deoxycytidine) and HDAC inhibitors (trichostatin A and pyruvate). All the CC cell lines and a range of tumour tissues (65.5%) exhibited complete or partial loss of SLC5A8 transcription. The bisulphite‑sequencing revealed that hypermethylation of the CGI within SLC5A8 first exon was associated with its downregulation in the majority of cases. The transporter expression was restored in the CC cell lines following exposure to 5‑aza‑2'‑deoxycytidine alone, or in combination with trichostatin A or pyruvate, suggesting that DNA methylation and histone deacetylation contribute to its inhibition in a cell line‑dependent manner. Together, the results of the present study demonstrate the key role of DNA hypermethylation in the repression of SLC5A8 in CC, as well as the involvement of histone deacetylation, at least partially. This allows for research focused on the potential function of SLC5A8 as a tumour suppressor in CC, and as a biomarker or therapeutic target in this malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation
  • Decitabine / pharmacology
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Epigenetic Repression*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / genetics*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / genetics*
  • Pyruvic Acid / pharmacology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology*
  • Young Adult


  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters
  • SLC5A8 protein, human
  • trichostatin A
  • Decitabine
  • Pyruvic Acid