Mapping cancer cell metabolism with(13)C flux analysis: Recent progress and future challenges.

Duckwall CS, Murphy TA, Young JD
J Carcinog. 2013 12: 13

PMID: 23961260 · PMCID: PMC3746411 · DOI:10.4103/1477-3163.115422

The reprogramming of energy metabolism is emerging as an important molecular hallmark of cancer cells. Recent discoveries linking specific metabolic alterations to cancer development have strengthened the idea that altered metabolism is more than a side effect of malignant transformation, but may in fact be a functional driver of tumor growth and progression in some cancers. As a result, dysregulated metabolic pathways have become attractive targets for cancer therapeutics. This review highlights the application of(13)C metabolic flux analysis (MFA) to map the flow of carbon through intracellular biochemical pathways of cancer cells. We summarize several recent applications of MFA that have identified novel biosynthetic pathways involved in cancer cell proliferation and shed light on the role of specific oncogenes in regulating these pathways. Through such studies, it has become apparent that the metabolic phenotypes of cancer cells are not as homogeneous as once thought, but instead depend strongly on the molecular alterations and environmental factors at play in each case.

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