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Non-Invasive Assessment of Lactate Production and Compartmentalization in Renal Cell Carcinomas Using Hyperpolarized 13C Pyruvate MRI.


Optimal treatment selection for localized renal tumors is challenging due to their variable biological behavior and limited ability to pre-operatively assess their aggressiveness. We investigated hyperpolarized (HP) 13C pyruvate MRI to noninvasively assess tumor lactate production and compartmentalization, which are strongly associated with renal tumor aggressiveness. Orthotopic tumors were created in mice using human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) lines (A498, 786-O, UOK262) with varying expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) which catalyzes the pyruvate-to-lactate conversion, and varying expression of monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4) which mediates lactate export out of the cells. Dynamic HP 13C pyruvate MRI showed that the A498 tumors had significantly higher 13C pyruvate-to-lactate conversion than the UOK262 and 786-O tumors, corresponding to higher A498 tumor LDHA expression. Additionally, diffusion-weighted HP 13C pyruvate MRI showed that the A498 tumors had significantly higher 13C lactate apparent diffusion coefficients compared to 786-O tumors, with corresponding higher MCT4 expression, which likely reflects more rapid lactate export in the A498 tumors. Our data demonstrate the feasibility of HP 13C pyruvate MRI to inform on tumor lactate production and compartmentalization, and provide the scientific premise for future clinical investigation into the utility of this technique to noninvasively interrogate renal tumor aggressiveness and to guide treatment selection.

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