Metabolomic analysis to elucidate mechanisms of sunitinib resistance in renal cell carcinoma

Tomonori Sato, Yoshihide Kawasaki, Masamitsu Maekawa, Shinya Takasaki, Kento Morozumi, Masahiko Sato, Shuichi Shimada, Naoki Kawamorita, Shinichi Yamashita, Koji Mitsuzuka, Nariyasu Mano, Akihiro Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolomics analysis possibly identifies new therapeutic targets in treatment resistance by measuring changes in metabolites accompanying cancer progression. We previously conducted a global metabolomics (G-Met) study of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and identified metabolites that may be involved in sunitinib resistance in RCC. Here, we aimed to elucidate possible mechanisms of sunitinib resistance in RCC through intracellular metabolites. We established sunitinib-resistant and control RCC cell lines from tumor tissues of RCC cell (786-O)-injected mice. We also quantified characteristic metabolites identified in our G-Met study to compare intracellular metabolism between the two cell lines using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The established sunitinib-resistant RCC cell line demonstrated significantly desuppressed protein kinase B (Akt) and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) phosphorylation compared with the control RCC cell line under sunitinib exposure. Among identified metabolites, glutamine, glutamic acid, and α-KG (involved in glutamine uptake into the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle for energy metabolism); fructose 6-phosphate, D-sedoheptulose 7-phosphate, and glucose 1-phosphate (involved in increased glycolysis and its intermediate metabolites); and glutathione and myoinositol (antioxidant effects) were significantly increased in the sunitinib-resistant RCC cell line. Particularly, glutamine transporter (SLC1A5) expression was significantly increased in sunitinib-resistant RCC cells compared with control cells. In this study, we demonstrated energy metabolism with glutamine uptake and glycolysis upregulation, as well as antioxidant activity, was also associated with sunitinib resistance in RCC cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan


  • Glutamine
  • Metabolomics
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Resistance
  • Sunitinib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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