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Valproic acid suppresses Warburg effect and tumor progression in neuroblastoma

Fang, Erhu, Wang, Jianqun, Hong, Mei, Zheng, Liduan, Tong, Qiangsong
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.1 pp. 9-16
adenosine triphosphate, childhood, enzyme inhibitors, genes, glucose, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, glycolysis, histone deacetylase, lactic acid, neoplasms, phenotype, therapeutics, transcription factors, valproic acid
Altered glucose metabolism is a hallmark for cancer, which is characterized by a unique metabolic phenotype known as Warburg effect or aerobic glycolysis. Emerging studies show that valproic acid (VPA), an established histone deacetylase inhibitor, possesses tumor suppressive properties. However, the effects of VPA on the regulation of Warburg effect in neuroblastoma (NB), the most common extracranial malignancy in childhood, still remain elusive. In this study, we show that VPA inhibits the aerobic glycolysis in NB cells by decreasing glucose uptake and reducing lactate and ATP production. Mechanistically, VPA suppresses aerobic glycolysis via reducing the levels of E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1), resulting in repressed expression of glycolytic genes glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) and phosphoglycerate pinase 1 (PGK1). Rescue experiments show that VPA inhibits the aerobic glycolysis and NB progression through down-regulation of E2F1. These results demonstrate that VPA suppresses the Warburg effect and tumor progression, indicating a novel therapeutic strategy for NB.