Pancreatic cancers have one of the highest fatality rates among all cancers and their response to therapies is highly variable. We have recently shown that inhibition of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) and glutaminase (GLS) through small drug-like molecules causes pancreatic tumor regression. These studies indicate that targeting the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells is a promising new approach to pancreatic cancer therapy. In order to translate these metabolic inhibitors to the clinic, our goal is to characterize and enable targeted selection of patients based on predicted metabolic response. Although genetic mutations may ultimately be the prime causes of early stage cancer, they can also lead to changes in cancer metabolism which enable cancer cells to proliferate and survive even under the hypoxic and nutrient-deprived conditions often encountered in the tumor microenvironment. The biochemical changes in cancer cells, which determine their behavior in terms of growth, survival and mobility, represent a functional readout of responses to external agents. We hypothesize that the metabolites of tumors that are sensitive to metabolic inhibitors are measurably different from those of resistant ones. We can therefore propose these metabolites as potential functional predictors of response. The proposed research will also study the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment that can affect pancreatic cancer sensitivity to LDHA and GLS inhibition. The proposed experiments will use Metabolomics technology to trace the metabolic prototypes of pancreatic orthotopic xenografts to identify the metabolic signature of FX11 or BPTES-sensitive tumors as compared to resistant ones. For an analysis of the effects due to the tumor hypoxic microenvironment, we will use our innovative tool, the HypoxCR reporter system, which can simultaneously detect hypoxic cells and proliferating cells to define the effects of the pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment on their sensitivity to metabolic inhibitors. This will be the first evaluation of the hypoxic tumor microenvironment in regards to how it affects the response of subfractions of pancreatic orthotopic xenograft tumor cells to metabolic inhibitors.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2012 Mar 31-Apr 4; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2012;72(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 784A. doi:1538-7445.AM2012-784A