Untuning the tumor metabolic machine: Targeting cancer metabolism: a bedside lesson.

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, the Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Nature medicine (Impact Factor: 28.05). 07/2012; 18(7):1022-3. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2870
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: As the concentrations of highly consumed nutrients, particularly glucose, are generally lower in tumours than in normal tissues, cancer cells must adapt their metabolism to the tumour microenvironment. A better understanding of these adaptations might reveal cancer cell liabilities that can be exploited for therapeutic benefit. Here we developed a continuous-flow culture apparatus (Nutrostat) for maintaining proliferating cells in low-nutrient media for long periods of time, and used it to undertake competitive proliferation assays on a pooled collection of barcoded cancer cell lines cultured in low-glucose conditions. Sensitivity to low glucose varies amongst cell lines, and an RNA interference (RNAi) screen pinpointed mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) as the major pathway required for optimal proliferation in low glucose. We found that cell lines most sensitive to low glucose are defective in the OXPHOS upregulation that is normally caused by glucose limitation as a result of either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in complex I genes or impaired glucose utilization. These defects predict sensitivity to biguanides, antidiabetic drugs that inhibit OXPHOS, when cancer cells are grown in low glucose or as tumour xenografts. Notably, the biguanide sensitivity of cancer cells with mtDNA mutations was reversed by ectopic expression of yeast NDI1, a ubiquinone oxidoreductase that allows bypass of complex I function. Thus, we conclude that mtDNA mutations and impaired glucose utilization are potential biomarkers for identifying tumours with increased sensitivity to OXPHOS inhibitors.
    Nature 03/2014; 508(7494). DOI:10.1038/nature13110 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we show the selective and efficient anti-cancer effects of plasma (at a low dose) when cell metabolic modifiers are also included. 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), a glycolytic inhibitor, was used with effective doses of non-thermal plasma, synergistically attenuating cell metabolic viability and inducing caspase-dependent and independent cell death. The combination treatment decreased the intracellular ATP and lactate production in various types of blood cancer cells in vitro. Taken together, our findings suggest that 2-DG enhances the efficacy and selectivity of plasma and induces the synergistic inhibition of cancer cell growth by targeting glycolysis and apoptosis. Specifically, this treatment strategy demonstrated an enhanced growth inhibitory effect of plasma in the presence of a metabolic modifier that was selective against cancer cells, not non-malignant cells. This is the first study to report the advantage of combining plasma with 2-DG to eradicate blood cancer cells. Finally, we conclude that 2-DG with non-thermal plasma may be used as a combination treatment against blood cancer cells.
    Scientific Reports 03/2015; 5:8726. DOI:10.1038/srep08726 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent epidemiological and laboratory-based studies suggest that the anti-diabetic drug metformin prevents cancer progression. How metformin diminishes tumor growth is not fully understood. In this study, we report that in human cancer cells, metformin inhibits mitochondrial complex I (NADH dehydrogenase) activity and cellular respiration. Metformin inhibited cellular proliferation in the presence of glucose, but induced cell death upon glucose deprivation, indicating that cancer cells rely exclusively on glycolysis for survival in the presence of metformin. Metformin also reduced hypoxic activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). All of these effects of metformin were reversed when the metformin-resistant Saccharomyces cerevisiae NADH dehydrogenase NDI1 was overexpressed. In vivo, the administration of metformin to mice inhibited the growth of control human cancer cells but not those expressing NDI1. Thus, we have demonstrated that metformin's inhibitory effects on cancer progression are cancer cell autonomous and depend on its ability to inhibit mitochondrial complex I.
    eLife Sciences 05/2014; 3. DOI:10.7554/eLife.02242 · 8.52 Impact Factor


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May 30, 2014