Metabolic changes in cancer: beyond the Warburg effect

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Abstract

Altered metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. The best-known metabolic abnormality in cancer cells is the Warburg effect, which demonstrates an increased glycolysis even in the presence of oxygen. However, tumor-related metabolic abnormalities are not limited to altered balance between glucose fermentation and oxidative phosphorylation. Key tumor genes such as p53 and c-myc are found to be master regulators of metabolism. Metabolic enzymes such as succinate dehydrogenase, fumarate hydratase, pyruvate kinase, and isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations or expressing level alterations are all linked to tumorigenesis. In this review, we introduce some of the cancer-associated metabolic disorders and current understanding of their molecular tumorigenic mechanisms.

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