Altered metabolism in cancer cells is suspected to contribute to chemoresistance, but the precise mechanisms are unclear. Here, we show that intracellular ATP levels are a core determinant in the development of acquired cross-drug resistance of human colon cancer cells that harbor different genetic backgrounds. Drug-resistant cells were characterized by defective mitochondrial ATP production, elevated aerobic glycolysis, higher absolute levels of intracellular ATP, and enhanced HIF-1α-mediated signaling. Interestingly, direct delivery of ATP into cross-chemoresistant cells destabilized HIF-1aand inhibited glycolysis. Thus, drug-resistant cells exhibit a greater "ATP debt" defined as the extra amount of ATP needed to maintain homeostasis of survival pathways under genotoxic stress. Direct delivery of ATP was sufficient to render drug-sensitive cells drug resistant. Conversely, depleting ATP by cell treatment with an inhibitor of glycolysis, 3-bromopyruvate, was sufficient to sensitize cells cross-resistant to multiple chemotherapeutic drugs. In revealing that intracellular ATP levels are a core determinant of chemoresistance in colon cancer cells, our findings may offer a foundation for new improvements to colon cancer treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research