Tumor cells exhibit an altered metabolism characterized by elevated aerobic glycolysis and lactate secretion which is supported by an increase in glucose transport and consumption. We hypothesized that reducing or eliminating the expression of the most prominently expressed glucose transporter(s) would decrease the amount of glucose available to breast cancer cells thereby decreasing their metabolic capacity and proliferative potential.Of the 12 GLUT family glucose transporters expressed in mice, GLUT1 was the most abundantly expressed at the RNA level in the mouse mammary tumors from MMTV-c-ErbB2 mice and cell lines examined. Reducing GLUT1 expression in mouse mammary tumor cell lines using shRNA or Cre/Lox technology reduced glucose transport, glucose consumption, lactate secretion and lipid synthesis in vitro without altering the concentration of ATP, as well as reduced growth on plastic and in soft agar. The growth of tumor cells with reduced GLUT1 expression was impaired when transplanted into the mammary fat pad of athymic nude mice in vivo. Overexpression of GLUT1 in a cell line with low levels of endogenous GLUT1 increased glucose transport in vitro and enhanced growth in nude mice in vivo as compared to the control cells with very low levels of GLUT1.These studies demonstrate that GLUT1 is the major glucose transporter in mouse mammary carcinoma models overexpressing ErbB2 or PyVMT and that modulation of the level of GLUT1 has an effect upon the growth of mouse mammary tumor cell lines in vivo.
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