Blood Cancer Discov. 2023 May 10:BCD-22-0139. doi: 10.1158/2643-3230.BCD-22-0139. Online ahead of print.
Acceleration of glycolysis is a common trait of cancer. A key metabolite, lactate, is typically secreted from cancer cells, since its accumulation is toxic. Here, we report that a viral oncogene, HTLV-1 bZIP factor (HBZ), bimodally upregulates TAp73 to promote lactate excretion from adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATL) cells. HBZ protein binds to EZH2 and reduces its occupancy of the TAp73 promoter. Meanwhile, HBZ RNA activates TAp73 transcription via the BATF3-IRF4 machinery. TAp73 upregulates the lactate transporters MCT1 and MCT4. Inactivation of TAp73 leads to intracellular accumulation of lactate, inducing cell death in ATL cells. Furthermore, TAp73 knockout diminishes development of inflammation in HBZ-transgenic mice. An MCT1/4 inhibitor, syrosingopine, decreases the growth of ATL cells in vitro and in vivo. MCT1/4 expression is positively correlated with TAp73 in many cancers, and MCT1/4 upregulation is associated with dismal prognosis. Activation of the TAp73-MCT1/4 pathway could be a common mechanism contributing to cancer metabolism.