Tumour-specific metabolic adaptation to acidosis is coupled to epigenetic stability in osteosarcoma cells

T. Chano, S. Avnet, K. Husuzaki, G. Bonuccelli, P. Sonveaux, D. Rotili, A. Mai, N. Baldini

Am J Cancer Res.
15 May 2016
The glycolytic-based metabolism of cancers promotes an acidic microenvironment that is responsible for increased aggressiveness. However, the effects of acidosis on tumour metabolism have been almost unexplored. By using capillary electrophoresis with time-of-flight mass spectrometry, we observed a significant metabolic difference associated with glycolysis repression (dihydroxyacetone phosphate), increase of amino acid catabolism (phospho-creatine and glutamate) and urea cycle enhancement (arginino succinic acid) in osteosarcoma (OS) cells compared with normal fibroblasts. Noteworthy, metabolites associated with chromatin modification, like UDP-glucose and N8-acetylspermidine, decreased more in OS cells than in fibroblasts. COBRA assay and acetyl-H3 immunoblotting indicated an epigenetic stability in OS cells than in normal cells, and OS cells were more sensitive to an HDAC inhibitor under acidosis than under neutral pH. Since our data suggest that acidosis promotes a metabolic reprogramming that can contribute to the epigenetic maintenance under acidosis only in tumour cells, the acidic microenvironment should be considered for future therapies.