Lactate transporter monocarboxylate transporter 4 induces bone pain in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Kazuaki Hasegawa, Tatsuo Okui, Tsuyoshi Shimo, Soichiro Ibaragi, Hotaka Kawai, Shoji Ryumon, Koji Kishimoto, Yuka Okusya, Nur Mohammad Monsur Hassan, Akira Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) poses a significant challenge clinically, as it can invade facial bones and cause bone pain that is undertreated and poorly understood. Here we studied HNSCC bone pain (HNSCC-BP) in an intratibial mouse xenograft model that uses a human HNSCC cell line (SAS cells). These mice develop HNSCC-BP associated with an upregulation of phosphorylated ERK1/2 (pERK1/2), which is a molecular indicator of neuron excitation in the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) of sensory nerve cell bodies. Our experiments demonstrated that the inhibition of monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) by short hairpin (shRNA) transduction suppressed the HNSCC-BP, the lactate level in bone marrow, and the pERK1/2 expression in DRG. The sensory nerves also expressed increased levels of the acid-sensing receptor TRPV1. DRG neurons co-cultured with SAS cells showed increased neurite outgrowth, and were inhibited by MCT4 silencing with shRNA. Collectively, our results show that HNSCC induced an acidic bone microenvironment that evokes HNSCC-BP via MCT4 expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3317
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Bone pain
  • Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • Monocarboxylate transporter 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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