Reversing the Warburg effect as a treatment for glioblastoma.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), like most cancers, possesses a unique bioenergetic state of aerobic glycolysis known as the Warburg effect. Here, we documented that methylene blue (MB) reverses the Warburg effect evidenced by the increasing of oxygen consumption and reduction of lactate production in GBM cell lines. MB decreases GBM cell proliferation and halts the cell cycle in S phase. Through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, MB inactivates downstream acetyl-CoA carboxylase and decreases cyclin expression. Structure-activity relationship analysis demonstrated that toluidine blue O, an MB derivative with similar bioenergetic actions, exerts similar action in GBM cell proliferation. In contrast, two other MB derivatives, 2-chlorophenothiazine and promethazine, exert no effect on cellular bioenergetics and do not inhibit GBM cell proliferation. MB inhibits cell proliferation in both temozolomide-sensitive and -insensitive GBM cell lines. In a human GBM xenograft model, a single daily dosage of MB does not activate AMP-activated protein kinase signaling, and no tumor regression was observed. In summary, the current study provides the first in vitro proof of concept that reversal of Warburg effect might be a novel therapy for GBM.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Poteet, E; Choudhury, GR; Winters, A; Li, W; Ryou, M-G; Liu, R; Tang, L; Ghorpade, A; Wen, Y; Yuan, F; Keir, ST; Yan, H; Bigner, DD; Simpkins, JW; Yang, S-H

Published Date

  • March 29, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 288 / 13

Start / End Page

  • 9153 - 9164

PubMed ID

  • 23408428

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3610988

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1083-351X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1074/jbc.M112.440354


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States