To investigate the synergistic effect of glycolysis inhibition on therapy answer to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in renal carcinoma.
Primary cell cultures from 33 renal tumors including clear cell RCC (ccRCC), papillary RCC and the rare subtype chromophobe RCC as well as two metastases of ccRCC were obtained and cultivated. The patient-derived cells were verified by immunohistochemistry. CcRCC cells were further examined by exon sequencing of the von Hippel-Lindau gene (VHL) and by RNA-sequencing. Next, cell cultures of all subtypes of RCC were exposed to increasing doses of various tyrosine kinase inhibitors (axitinib, cabozantinib and pazopanib) and the glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose, alone or combined. CellTiter-Glo Luminescence assay and Crystal Violet staining were used to assess the inhibition of glycolysis and the viability of the cultured primary cells.
The cells expressed characteristic tissue markers and, in case of ccRCC cultures, the VHL status of the tumor they derived from. An upregulation of HK1, PFKP and SLC2A1 was observed, while components of the respiratory chain were downregulated, confirming a metabolic shift towards aerobic glycolysis. The tumors displayed variable individual responses for the therapeutics. All subtypes of RCC were susceptible to cabozantinib treatment indicated by decreased proliferation. Adding 2-deoxy-D-glucose to tyrosine kinase inhibitors decreased ATP production and increased the susceptibility of ccRCC to pazopanib treatment.
This study presents a valuable tool to cultivate even uncommon and rare renal cancer subtypes and allows testing of targeted therapies as a personalized approach as well as testing new therapies such as glycolysis inhibition in an in vitro model.