1. Academic Validation
  2. FOXM1 regulates glycolysis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells through PDK1

FOXM1 regulates glycolysis in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells through PDK1

  • J Cell Mol Med. 2022 Jul;26(13):3783-3796. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.17413.
Qing Yang 1 Fang Wu 1 Yong Zhang 1 Rensheng Wang 1


  • 1 Department of Radiation Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China.

The transcription factor forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) is a well-known proto-oncogene that plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of various human cancers. However, the regulatory role and underlying mechanisms of FOXM1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) metabolism remain unclear. We demonstrated that FOXM1 could positively regulate glycolysis in NPC cells. Functional studies have shown that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1) is involved in FOXM1-regulated lactate production, ATP generation and glycolysis. FOXM1 binds directly to the PDK1 promoter region and increases the expression of PDK1 at the transcriptional level, leading to the phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) at serine 293, inhibiting its activity. Knocking down FOXM1 using specific short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) can significantly decrease glycolysis and the expression of PDK1 in NPC cells. Furthermore, microenvironmental factors can increase the expression of FOXM1 by regulating hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) expression. Clinical data and in vivo studies confirmed the positive roles of FOXM1/PDK1 in NPC proliferation and progression. In conclusion, our findings revealed that FOXM1 regulates glycolysis and proliferation of NPC through PDK1-mediated PDH phosphorylation. Therefore, targeting the FOXM1-PDK1 axis may be a potential therapeutic strategy for NPC.


FOXM1; PDK1; glycolysis; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; proliferation.