Translational Oncology (2020-05-01)

The Elusive Link Between Cancer FDG Uptake and Glycolytic Flux Explains the Preserved Diagnostic Accuracy of PET/CT in Diabetes

  • Vanessa Cossu,
  • Matteo Bauckneht,
  • Silvia Bruno,
  • Anna Maria Orengo,
  • Laura Emionite,
  • Enrica Balza,
  • Patrizia Castellani,
  • Patrizia Piccioli,
  • Alberto Miceli,
  • Stefano Raffa,
  • Anna Borra,
  • Maria Isabella Donegani,
  • Sebastiano Carlone,
  • Silvia Morbelli,
  • Silvia Ravera,
  • Gianmario Sambuceti,
  • Cecilia Marini

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 5


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This study aims to verify in experimental models of hyperglycemia induced by streptozotocin (STZ-DM) to what degree the high competition between unlabeled glucose and metformin (MET) treatment might affect the accuracy of cancer FDG imaging. The study included 36 “control” and 36 “STZ-DM” Balb/c mice, undergoing intraperitoneal injection of saline or streptozotocin, respectively. Two-weeks later, mice were subcutaneously implanted with breast (4 T1) or colon (CT26) cancer cells and subdivided in three subgroups for treatment with water or with MET at 10 or 750 mg/Kg/day. Two weeks after, mice were submitted to micro-PET imaging. Enzymatic pathways and response to oxidative stress were evaluated in harvested tumors. Finally, competition by glucose, 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) and the fluorescent analog 2-[N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino]-2-deoxyglucose (2-NBDG) on FDG uptake was studied in 4 T1 and CT26 cultured cells. STZ-DM slightly decreased cancer volume and FDG uptake rate (MRF). More importantly, it also abolished MET capability to decelerate lesion growth and MRF. This metabolic reprogramming closely agreed with the activity of hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase within the endoplasmic reticulum. Finally, co-incubation with 2DG virtually abolished FDG and 2-NBDG uptake within the endoplasmic reticulum in cultured cells. These data challenge the current dogma linking FDG uptake to glycolytic flux and introduce a new model to explain the relation between glucose analogue uptake and hexoses reticular metabolism. This selective fate of FDG contributes to the preserved sensitivity of PET imaging in oncology even in chronic moderate hyperglycemic conditions.