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Keywords:

  • high-resolution magic angle spinning MRS;
  • 13C MRS;
  • breast cancer;
  • xenograft;
  • glycolysis;
  • lactate;
  • alanine;
  • gene expression

Tumor cells have increased glycolytic activity, and glucose is mainly used to form lactate and alanine, even when high concentrations of oxygen are present (Warburg effect). The purpose of the present study was to investigate glucose metabolism in two xenograft models representing basal-like and luminal-like breast cancer using 13C high-resolution-magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) MRS and gene expression analysis. Tumor tissue was collected from two groups for each model: untreated mice (n = 19) and a group of mice (n = 16) that received an injection of [1-13C]-glucose 10 or 15 min before harvesting the tissue. 13C HR-MAS MRS was performed on the tumor samples and differences in the glucose/alanine (Glc/Ala), glucose/lactate (Glc/Lac) and alanine/lactate (Ala/Lac) ratios between the models were studied. The expression of glycolytic genes was studied using tumor tissue from the same models. In the natural abundance MR spectra, a significantly lower Glc/Ala and Glc/Lac ratio (p < 0.001) was observed in the luminal-like model compared with the basal-like model. In the labeled samples, the predominant glucose metabolites were lactate and alanine. Significantly lower Glc/Ala and Glc/Lac ratios were observed in the luminal-like model (p < 0.05). Most genes contributing to glycolysis were expressed at higher levels in the luminal-like model (fdr < 0.001). The lower Glc/Ala and Glc/Lac ratios and higher glycolytic gene expression observed in the luminal-like model indicates that the transformation of glucose to lactate and alanine occurred faster in this model than in the basal-like model, which has a growth rate several times faster than that of the luminal-like model. The results from the present study suggest that the tumor growth rate is not necessarily a determinant of glycolytic activity. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.