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Clin Transl Oncol. 2013 Jan;15(1):55-64. doi: 10.1007/s12094-012-0882-3. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Progressive increase of glucose transporter-3 (GLUT-3) expression in estrogen-induced breast carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University, Inciralti, Izmir, Turkey.



Increased glucose uptake and glycolysis are main metabolic characteristics of malignant cells. A family of glucose transporters (GLUTs) facilitates glucose movement across the plasma membranes in a tumor-specific manner. Glucose transporter-1 (GLUT-1), GLUT-3 and recently GLUT-12, have been previously shown in breast cancer cells and are found to be associated with poor prognosis. In addition, it has been shown that estrogen plays critical roles in GLUT regulation, however, the stage-specific GLUT regulation of mammary carcinogenesis is unclear.


GLUT expression patterns were investigated in an in vitro-in vivo progressive, estrogen-induced, mammary carcinogenesis model which consisted of four cell lines, with same genetic background. In this model, different stages of tumor initiation and progression are represented, MCF-10F being the normal stage, E2 cells the transformed stage by estrogen, C5 cells, the invasive stage, and T4 cells the tumorigenic stage. In addition, loss of ductulogenesis and solid mass formation in collagen matrix and invasiveness of the cells were counted.


Real time PCR showed that GLUT1 expression was downregulated in MCF10F after treatment with 17β-estradiol (E2), and in the invasive cell type (C5), but not in the tumor cells (T4), which had no changes compared to MCF10F. C5 and T4 cells showed the highest rate of GLUT-3 expression. These cells were also found to be associated with loss of ductulogenesis, solid mass formation and higher invasive capacity, whereas, GLUT-12 was downregulated in C5 and T4 cells.


Estrogen-induced malignant transformation is associated with remarkable and progressive GLUT-3 expression, GLUT-1 re-expression at further stages, as well as GLUT-12 downregulation.

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