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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2009 Dec;13(12):1411-27. doi: 10.1517/14728220903307509.

GLUT1 as a therapeutic target in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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University Hospital Regensburg, Department of Internal Medicine I, D-93042 Regensburg, Germany.


Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most fatal cancers in humans with rising incidence in many regions around the world. Currently, no satisfactory curative pharmacological treatment is available, and the outcome is mostly poor. Recently, we have shown that the glucose transporter GLUT1 is increased in a subset of patients with HCC and functionally affects tumorigenicity. GLUT1 is a rate-limiting transporter for glucose uptake, and its expression correlates with anaerobic glycolysis. This phenomenon is also known as the Warburg effect and recently became of great interest, since it affects not only glucose uptake and utilization but also has an influence on tumorigenic features like metastasis, chemoresistance and escape from immune surveillance. Consistent with this, RNA-interference-mediated inhibition of GLUT1 expression in HCC cells resulted in reduced tumorigenicity. Together, these findings indicate that GLUT1 is a novel and attractive therapeutic target for HCC. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the expression and function of GLUT1 in HCC, available drugs/strategies to inhibit GLUT1 expression or function, and potential side effects of such therapeutic strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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