Targeting glucose and glutamine metabolism combined with radiation therapy in non-small cell lung cancer

Tineke W. H. Meijer*, Wenny J. M. Peeters, Ludwig J. Dubois, Marike W. van Gisbergen, Rianne Biemans, Jan-Hendrik Venhuizen, Paul N. Span, Johan Bussink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: Metabolic inhibition might sensitize tumors to irradiation. Here, we examined the effect of lonidamine (several metabolic effects, inhibiting hexokinase amongst others) and/or 968 (glutaminase inhibitor) on tumor cell metabolism, cell growth, cytotoxicity and radiosensitivity in NSCLC cell lines in vitro in relation to histology.

Materials and methods: Adeno- (H23, HCC827, H1975) and squamous cell carcinoma (H520, H292, SW900) NSCLC cells were treated with lonidamine and/or 968 for 72 h under physiological levels of glucose (1.5 mM). Cells were irradiated with 0, 4 or 8 Gy. Cell growth of H2B-mCherry transduced cells and cytotoxicity (CellTox (TM) Green Cytotoxicity Assay) were measured using live cell imaging (IncuCyte). Inhibitory effects on metabolic profiles was determined using the Seahorse XF96 extracellular Flux analyzer.

Results: NSCLC cell lines responded differently to glycolysis (lonidamine) and/or glutaminase (968) inhibition, largely corresponding with changes in glycolytic and mitochondrial metabolism upon treatment. Response patterns were not related to histology. 968 was cytotoxic in cell lines with high glutaminase C expression (H1975 and H520), whereas combination treatment was cytotoxic in KRAS mutated cell lines SW900 and H23. H292 and HCC827 were resistant to combination treatment. Treatment with 968 and especially lonidamine resulted in radiosensitization of H292 and HCC827 in terms of decreased relative cell growth and increased cytotoxicity.

Conclusion: NSCLC is a heterogeneous disease, which is reflected in the response of different cell lines to the treatment (combinations) reported here. Only a part of NSCLC patients may benefit from the combination of radiation therapy and metabolic inhibition, making stratification necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalLung Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Glycolysis
  • Glutamine metabolism
  • Metabolic inhibition
  • Radiotherapy
  • Non-small cell lung cancer

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