Energy sources identify metabolic phenotypes in pancreatic cancer

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Metabolic reprogramming is one of the emerging hallmarks of cancers. As a highly malignant tumor, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is not only a metabolic disease but also a heterogeneous disease. Heterogeneity induces PDA dependence on distinct nutritive substrates, thereby inducing different metabolic phenotypes. We stratified PDA into four phenotypes with distinct types of energy metabolism, including a Warburg phenotype, a reverse Warburg phenotype, a glutaminolysis phenotype, and a lipid-dependent phenotype. The four phenotypes possess distinct metabolic features and reprogram their metabolic pathways to adapt to stress. The metabolic type present in PDA should prompt differential imaging and serologic metabolite detection for diagnosis and prognosis. The targeting of an individual metabolic phenotype with corresponding metabolic inhibitors is considered a promising therapeutic approach and, in combination with chemotherapy, is expected to be a novel strategy for PDA treatment.

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