Background and purpose Cellular radioresistance is a major impediment to effective radiotherapy. Here, we demonstrated that long-term exposure to fractionated radiation conferred acquired radioresistance to tumor cells due to AKT-mediated enhanced aerobic glycolysis.
Material and methods Two human tumor cell lines with acquired radioresistance were established by long-term exposure to fractionated radiation with 0.5 Gy of X-rays. Glucose uptake was inhibited using 2-deoxy-d-glucose, a non-metabolizable glucose analog. Aerobic glycolysis was assessed by measuring lactate concentrations. Cells were then used for assays of ROS generation, survival, and cell death as assessed by annexin V staining.
Results Enhanced aerobic glycolysis was shown by increased glucose transporter Glut1 expression and a high lactate production rate in acquired radioresistant cells compared with parental cells. Inhibiting the AKT pathway using the AKT inhibitor API-2 abrogated these phenomena. Moreover, we found that inhibiting glycolysis with 2-deoxy-d-glucose suppressed acquired tumor cell radioresistance.
Conclusions Long-term fractionated radiation confers acquired radioresistance to tumor cells by AKT-mediated alterations in their glucose metabolic pathway. Thus, tumor cell metabolic pathway is an attractive target to eliminate radioresistant cells and improve radiotherapy efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging