Virchows Archiv

, Volume 452, Issue 2, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Increased expression of monocarboxylate transporters 1, 2, and 4 in colorectal carcinomas

  • Céline Pinheiro
  • Adhemar Longatto-Filho
  • Cristovam Scapulatempo
  • Luísa Ferreira
  • Sandra Martins
  • Luc Pellerin
  • Mesquita Rodrigues
  • Venancio A. F. Alves
  • Fernando Schmitt
  • Fátima BaltazarEmail author
Original Article


Tumour cells are known to be highly glycolytic, thus producing high amounts of lactic acid. Monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs), by promoting the efflux of the accumulating acids, constitute one of the most important mechanisms in the maintenance of tumour intracellular pH. Since data concerning MCT expression in colorectal carcinomas (CRC) are scarce and controversial, the present study aimed to assess the expressions of MCT1, 2, and 4 in a well characterized series of CRC and assess their role in CRC carcinogenesis. CRC samples (126 cases) were analyzed for MCT1, MCT2, and MCT4 immunoexpression and findings correlated with clinico-pathological parameters. Expression of all MCT isoforms in tumour cells was significantly increased when compared to adjacent normal epithelium. Remarkably, there was a significant gain of membrane expression for MCT1 and MCT4 and loss of plasma membrane expression for MCT2 in tumour cells. Plasma membrane expression of MCT1 was directly related to the presence of vascular invasion. This is the larger study on MCT expression in CRC and evaluates for the first time its clinico-pathological significance. The increased expression of these transporters suggests an important role in CRC, which might justify their use, especially MCT1 and MCT4, as targets in CRC drug therapy.


Monocarboxylate transporter Colorectal carcinoma 



CP received a PhD fellowship from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/27465/2006).

Conflict of interest statement

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Céline Pinheiro
    • 1
  • Adhemar Longatto-Filho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristovam Scapulatempo
    • 3
  • Luísa Ferreira
    • 1
  • Sandra Martins
    • 1
    • 4
  • Luc Pellerin
    • 5
  • Mesquita Rodrigues
    • 4
  • Venancio A. F. Alves
    • 3
  • Fernando Schmitt
    • 6
    • 7
  • Fátima Baltazar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health SciencesUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Adolfo LutzSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of São Paulo School of MedicineSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.S. Marcos HospitalBragaPortugal
  5. 5.Faculty of Biology and MedicineUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Institute of Pathology and Immunology of University of Porto (IPATIMUP)PortoPortugal
  7. 7.Medical Faculty of the University of PortoPortoPortugal

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