Introduction: Metabolism and cancer


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Eyal Gottlieb1
1Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, UK

Abstract

In addition for the need to duplicate their DNA, dividing cells must double their biomass with every cell division, a metabolically and energetically demanding process of anabolism. To support such large-scale anabolism in rapidly-dividing cancer cells, substantial amounts of metabolic building blocks, particularly glucose and amino acids, must be made available to the tumour. Yet tumours are situated in a metabolically-challenging environment where blood supply, and the supply of oxygen and other nutrients that comes with it, is scarce. Therefore, tumour cells develop a remarkably unique metabolism compared to the normal tissues from which they are derived. The extent to which metabolism plays a role in tumorigenesis cannot be overstated and drugs that selectively target these processes are likely to at least delay, if not halt tumour progression. This session will cover several aspects of metabolic transformation in cancer and will highlight new research technologies such as cancer cell metabolomics, metabolic imaging and computational metabolic networks. These technologies are not only important for understanding the basic biochemistry of cancer cells but they can inform us on future clinical management of cancer and may lead to new therapeutic approaches to target cancer-specific metabolic pathways.

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