Glucose transporter 4: Insulin response mastermind, glycolysis catalyst and treatment direction for cancer progression

Yu Chan Chang, Ming Hsien Chan, Yi Fang Yang, Chien Hsiu Li, Michael Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The glucose transporter family (GLUT) consists of fourteen members. It is responsible for glucose homeostasis and glucose transport from the extracellular space to the cell cytoplasm to further cascade catalysis. GLUT proteins are encoded by the solute carrier family 2 (SLC2) genes and are members of the major facilitator superfamily of membrane transporters. Moreover, different GLUTs also have their transporter kinetics and distribution, so each GLUT member has its uniqueness and importance to play essential roles in human physiology. Evidence from many studies in the field of diabetes showed that GLUT4 travels between the plasma membrane and intracellular vesicles (GLUT4-storage vesicles, GSVs) and that the PI3K/Akt pathway regulates this activity in an insulin-dependent manner or by the AMPK pathway in response to muscle contraction. Moreover, some published results also pointed out that GLUT4 mediates insulin-dependent glucose uptake. Thus, dysfunction of GLUT4 can induce insulin resistance, metabolic reprogramming in diverse chronic diseases, inflammation, and cancer. In addition to the relationship between GLUT4 and insulin response, recent studies also referred to the potential upstream transcription factors that can bind to the promoter region of GLUT4 to regulating downstream signals. Combined all of the evidence, we conclude that GLUT4 has shown valuable unknown functions and is of clinical significance in cancers, which deserves our in-depth discussion and design compounds by structure basis to achieve therapeutic effects. Thus, we intend to write up a most updated review manuscript to include the most recent and critical research findings elucidating how and why GLUT4 plays an essential role in carcinogenesis, which may have broad interests and impacts on this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number216179
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • (Pre)clinical drugs and imaging
  • Glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4)
  • Interaction partners
  • Regulators of transcriptional expression
  • Translocation


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