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Biochem J. 2015 Apr 15;467(2):247-58. doi: 10.1042/BJ20140921.

The cytotoxicity of 3-bromopyruvate in breast cancer cells depends on extracellular pH.

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*Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology (CBMA), Department of Biology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Braga 4710-057, Portugal.
‡Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Braga 4710-057, Portugal.
║KoDiscovery, LLC, University of Maryland BioPark, Suite 502 E & F, 801 West Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201, U.S.A.
¶Departments of Biological Chemistry and Oncology, Member at Large, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, John Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205-2185, U.S.A.


Although the anti-cancer properties of 3BP (3-bromopyruvate) have been described previously, its selectivity for cancer cells still needs to be explained [Ko et al. (2001) Cancer Lett. 173, 83-91]. In the present study, we characterized the kinetic parameters of radiolabelled [14C] 3BP uptake in three breast cancer cell lines that display different levels of resistance to 3BP: ZR-75-1 < MCF-7 < SK-BR-3. At pH 6.0, the affinity of cancer cells for 3BP transport correlates with their sensitivity, a pattern that does not occur at pH 7.4. In the three cell lines, the uptake of 3BP is dependent on the protonmotive force and is decreased by MCTs (monocarboxylate transporters) inhibitors. In the SK-BR-3 cell line, a sodium-dependent transport also occurs. Butyrate promotes the localization of MCT-1 at the plasma membrane and increases the level of MCT-4 expression, leading to a higher sensitivity for 3BP. In the present study, we demonstrate that this phenotype is accompanied by an increase in affinity for 3BP uptake. Our results confirm the role of MCTs, especially MCT-1, in 3BP uptake and the importance of cluster of differentiation (CD) 147 glycosylation in this process. We find that the affinity for 3BP transport is higher when the extracellular milieu is acidic. This is a typical phenotype of tumour microenvironment and explains the lack of secondary effects of 3BP already described in in vivo studies [Ko et al. (2004) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 324, 269-275].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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