The altered metabolism and acidic microenvironment plays an important role in promoting tumor malignant characteristics. A small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) were considered as a therapy target to reserve tumor relapse, resistance, and metastasis. However, the molecular mechanism that regulates CSCs metabolism remains poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrate a fundamental role of stemness gene LIN28B in maintaining CSCs glycolysis metabolism. Using LIN28B-expressing cancer cell lines, we found that the rate of extracellular acidification, glucose uptake, and lactate secretion are all suppressed by LIN28B knockdown in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, metabolic analyses reveal that CSCs have enhanced aerobic glycolysis metabolic characteristics and the glycolytic product lactate further promotes cancer associated stemness properties. LIN28B silencing suppresses MYC expression that further increases miR-34a-5p level. Furthermore, the glycolysis metabolism of human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 is suppressed by either MYC siRNA or miR-34a-5p mimic. Clinically, high MYC and low miR-34a-5p level are correlated with high LIN28B expression and poor prognosis in human breast cancer patients. Notably, blocking LIN28B/MYC/miR-34a-5p signaling pathway by LIN28B-specific inhibitor causes dramatic inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis in immunodeficient orthotopic mouse models of human breast cancer cell MDA-MB-231. Taken together, our findings offer a preclinical investigation of targeting LIN28B to suppress CSCs glycolysis metabolism and tumor progression that may improve the therapeutic benefit for cancer patients.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $9.98 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Warburg O. On the origin of cancer cells. Science. 1956;123:309–14.
Spinelli JB, Yoon H, Ringel AE, Jeanfavre S, Clish CB, Haigis MC. Metabolic recycling of ammonia via glutamate dehydrogenase supports breast cancer biomass. Science. 2017;358:941–6.
Faubert B, Li KY, Cai L, Hensley CT, Kim J, Zacharias LG, et al. Lactate metabolism in human lung tumors. Cell. 2017;171:358–71.
Ciavardelli D, Rossi C, Barcaroli D, Volpe S, Consalvo A, Zucchelli M, et al. Breast cancer stem cells rely on fermentative glycolysis and are sensitive to 2-deoxyglucose treatment. Cell Death Dis. 2014;5:e1336.
Lee KM, Giltnane JM, Balko JM, Schwarz LJ, Guerrero-Zotano AL, Hutchinson KE, et al. MYC and MCL1 cooperatively promote chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer stem cells via regulation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Cell Metab. 2017;26:633–47.
Viswanathan SR, Daley GQ, Gregory RI. Selective blockade of microRNA processing by Lin28. Science. 2008;320:97–100.
Iliopoulos D, Hirsch HA, Struhl K. An epigenetic switch involving NFkappaB, Lin28, Let-7 MicroRNA, and IL6 links inflammation to cell transformation. Cell. 2009;139:693–706.
Viswanathan SR, Powers JT, Einhorn W, Hoshida Y, Ng TL, Toffanin S, et al. Lin28 promotes transformation and is associated with advanced human malignancies. Nat Genet. 2009; 41: 843–8.
Chen C, Cao F, Bai L, Liu Y, Xie J, Wang W, et al. IKKβ enforces a LIN28B/TCF7L2 positive feedback loop that promotes cancer Cell stemness and metastasis. Cancer Res. 2015;75:1725–35.
Feng C, Neumeister V, Ma W, Xu J, Lu L, Bordeaux J, et al. Lin28 regulates HER2 and promotes malignancy through multiple mechanisms. Cell Cycle. 2012;11:2486–94.
Piskounova E, Polytarchou C, Thornton JE, LaPierre RJ, Pothoulakis C, Hagan JP, et al. Lin28A and Lin28B inhibit let-7 microRNA biogenesis by distinct mechanisms. Cell. 2011;147:1066–79.
Shyh-Chang N, Daley GQ. Lin28: primal regulator of growth and metabolism in stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2013;12:395–406.
Zhu H, Shah S, Shyh-Chang N, Shinoda G, Einhorn WS, Viswanathan SR, et al. Lin28a transgenic mice manifest size and puberty phenotypes identified in human genetic association studies. Nat Genet. 2010;42:626–30.
Zhang J, Ratanasirintrawoot S, Chandrasekaran S, Wu Z, Ficarro SB, Yu C, et al. LIN28 regulates stem cell metabolism and Conversion to primed pluripotency. Cell Stem Cell. 2016;19:66–80.
Wu L, Nguyen LH, Zhou K, de Soysa TY, Li L, Miller JB, et al. Precise let-7 expression levels balance organ regeneration against tumor suppression. Elife. 2015;4:e09431.
Stine ZE, Walton ZE, Altman BJ, Hsieh AL, Dang CV. MYC, metabolism, and cancer. Cancer Discov. 2015;5:1024–39.
Walz S, Lorenzin F, Morton J, Wiese KE, von Eyss B, Herold S, et al. Activation and repression by oncogenic MYC shape tumour-specific gene expression profiles. Nature. 2014;511:483–7.
Chang TC, Yu D, Lee YS, Wentzel EA, Arking DE, West KM, et al. Widespread microRNA repression by Myc contributes to tumorigenesis. Nat Genet. 2008;40:43–50.
Bu P, Chen KY, Chen JH, Wang L, Walters J, Shin YJ, et al. A microRNA miR-34a-regulated bimodal switch targets Notch in colon cancer stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2013;12:602–15.
Park EY, Chang E, Lee EJ, Lee HW, Kang HG, Chun KH, et al. Targeting of miR34a-NOTCH1 axis reduced breast cancer stemness and chemoresistance. Cancer Res. 2014;74:7573–82.
Liu C, Kelnar K, Liu B, Chen X, Calhoun-Davis T, Li H, et al. The microRNA miR-34a inhibits prostate cancer stem cells and metastasis by directly repressing CD44. Nat Med. 2011;17:211–5.
Valton J, Cabaniols JP, Galetto R, Delacote F, Duhamel M, Paris S, et al. Efficient strategies for TALEN-mediated genome editing in mammalian cell lines. Methods. 2014;69:151–70.
Zhang S, Li L, Kendrick SL, Gerard RD, Zhu H. TALEN-mediated somatic mutagenesis in murine models of cancer. Cancer Res. 2014;74:5311–21.
Pike Winer LS, Wu M. Rapid analysis of glycolytic and oxidative substrate flux of cancer cells in a microplate. PLoS ONE. 2014;9:e109916.
Wang Y, Yu Y, Tsuyada A, Ren X, Wu X, Stubblefield K, et al. Transforming growth factor-β regulates the sphere-initiating stem cell-like feature in breast cancer through miRNA-181 and ATM. Oncogene. 2011;30:1470–80.
Levi BP, Yilmaz OH, Duester G, Morrison SJ. Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1 is dispensable for stem cell function in the mouse hematopoietic and nervous systems. Blood. 2009;113:1670–80.
Ginestier C, Hur MH, Charafe-Jauffret E, Monville F, Dutcher J, Brown M, et al. ALDH1 is a marker of normal and malignant human mammary stem cells and a predictor of poor clinical outcome. Cell Stem Cell. 2007;1:555–67.
Silva AS, Yunes JA, Gillies RJ, Gatenby RA. The potential role of systemic buffers in reducing intratumoral extracellular pH and acid-mediated invasion. Cancer Res. 2009;69:2677–84.
Moellering RE, Black KC, Krishnamurty C, Baggett BK, Stafford P, Rain M, et al. Acid treatment of melanoma cells selects for invasive phenotypes. Clin Exp Metastas-. 2008;25:411–25.
Rofstad EK, Mathiesen B, Kindem K, Galappathi K. Acidic extracellular pH promotes experimental metastasis of human melanoma cells in athymic nude mice. Cancer Res. 2006;66:6699–707.
King CE, Cuatrecasas M, Castells A, Sepulveda AR, Lee JS, Rustgi AK. LIN28B promotes colon cancer progression and metastasis. Cancer Res. 2011;71:4260–8.
Nguyen LH, Robinton DA, Seligson MT, Wu L, Li L, Rakheja D, et al. Lin28b is sufficient to drive liver cancer and necessary for its maintenance in murine models. Cancer Cell. 2014;26:248–61.
Qiu C, Ma Y, Wang J, Peng S, Huang Y. Lin28-mediated post-transcriptional regulation of OCT4 expression in human embryonic stem cells. Nucleic Acids Res. 2010;38:1240–8.
Roos M, Pradère U, Ngondo RP, Behera A, Allegrini S, Civenni G, et al. A small-molecule inhibitor of Lin28. ACS Chem Biol. 2016;11:2773–81.
Mayr F, Heinemann U. Mechanisms of Lin28-mediated miRNA and mRNA regulation--a structural and functional perspective. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14:16532–53.
Trott O, Olson AJ. AutoDock Vina: improving the speed and accuracy of docking with a new scoring function, efficient optimization and multithreading. J Comput Chem. 2010;31:455–61.
Xiao Z, Li CH, Chan SL, Xu F, Feng L, Wang Y, et al. A small-molecule modulator of the tumor-suppressor miR34a inhibits the Growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2014;74:6236–47.
Lawrence MS, Stojanov P, Polak P, Kryukov GV, Cibulskis K, Sivachenko A, et al. Mutational heterogeneity in cancer and the search for new cancer-associated genes. Nature. 2013;499:214-–8.
Kleppe M, Levine RL. Tumor heterogeneity confounds and illuminates: assessing the implications. Nat Med. 2014;20:342–4.
Hanahan D, Weinberg RA. Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation. Cell. 2011;144:646–74.
DeBerardinis RJ, Lum JJ, Hatzivassiliou G, Thompson CB. The biology of cancer: metabolic reprogramming fuels cell growth and proliferation. Cell Metab. 2008;7:11–20.
Hensley CT, Faubert B, Yuan Q, Lev-Cohain N, Jin E, Kim J, et al. Metabolic heterogeneity in human lung tumors. Cell. 2016;164:681–94.
Davidson SM, Papagiannakopoulos T, Olenchock BA, Heyman JE, Keibler MA, Luengo A, et al. Environment impacts the metabolic dependencies of ras-driven non-small cell lung cancer. Cell Metab. 2016;23:517–28.
Corbet C, Pinto A, Martherus R, Santiago de Jesus JP, Polet F, Feron O. Acidosis drives the reprogramming of fatty acid metabolism in cancer cells through changes in mitochondrial and histone acetylation. Cell Metab. 2016;24:311–23.
Janiszewska M, Suvà ML, Riggi N, Houtkooper RH, Auwerx J, Clément-Schatlo V, et al. Imp2 controls oxidative phosphorylation and is crucial for preserving glioblastoma cancer stem cells. Genes Dev. 2012;26:1926–44.
Ye XQ, Li Q, Wang GH, Sun FF, Huang GJ, Bian XW, et al. Mitochondrial and energy metabolism-related properties as novel indicators of lung cancer stem cells. Int J Cancer. 2011;129:820–31.
Vazquez F, Lim JH, Chim H, Bhalla K, Girnun G, Pierce K, et al. PGC1α expression defines a subset of human melanoma tumors with increased mitochondrial capacity and resistance to oxidative stress. Cancer Cell. 2013;23:287–301.
Sancho P, Burgos-Ramos E, Tavera A, Bou Kheir T, Jagust P, Schoenhals M, et al. MYC/PGC-1α balance determines the metabolic phenotype and plasticity of pancreatic cancer stem cells. Cell Metab. 2015;22:590–605.
Ito K, Carracedo A, Weiss D, Arai F, Ala U, Avigan DE, et al. A PML–PPAR-δ pathway for fatty acid oxidation regulates hematopoietic stem cell maintenance. Nat Med. 2012;18:1350–8.
Ma X, Li C, Sun L, Huang D, Li T, He X, et al. Lin28/let-7 axis regulates aerobic glycolysis and cancer progression via PDK1. Nat Commun. 2014;5:5212.
Albright JD, Moran DB, Wright WB Jr, Collins JB, Beer B, Lippa AS, et al. Synthesis and anxiolytic activity of 6-(substituted-phenyl)-1,2,4-triazolo[4,3-b]-pyridazines. J Med Chem. 1981;24:592–600.
American Type Culture Collection. Cell line verification test recommendations; ATCC recommends cell line verification tests and guidelines for publishing. ATCC Technical Bulletin No. 8. Manassas, VA: ATCC; 2007.
Hu Y, Smyth GK. ELDA: extreme limiting dilution analysis for comparing depleted and enriched populations in stem cell and other assays. J Immunol Methods. 2009;347:70–8.
This project was supported by grants from the 973 Program of China (2013CB967202, Yunping Luo); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91029734 and 81071711, Yunping Luo), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81502562, Chong Chen); and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (33320140173, Chong Chen). We thank Zhigang Wang (Department of Bioengineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) for the bioinformatics analysis in this study and Cameron R. Mckay (Department of Immunology, Nankai University) for critically reading and polishing this manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, C., Bai, L., Cao, F. et al. Targeting LIN28B reprograms tumor glucose metabolism and acidic microenvironment to suppress cancer stemness and metastasis. Oncogene 38, 4527–4539 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-019-0735-4
Frontiers in Oncology (2021)
MicroRNA-3613-3p functions as a tumor suppressor and represents a novel therapeutic target in breast cancer
Breast Cancer Research (2021)
Physiological Reviews (2020)
International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020)