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American Journal of Clinical Oncology:
doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3181e84dec
Review Articles

Targeting Glucose Metabolism: An Emerging Concept for Anticancer Therapy

Madhok, Brijesh M. MBBS, MS, MRCS; Yeluri, Sashidhar MBBS, MS, MRCS; Perry, Sarah L. BSc(Hons); Hughes, Thomas A. BA(Hons), DPhil; Jayne, David G. MD, FRCS

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Abstract

Mortality from locally advanced and metastatic cancer remains high despite advances in our understanding of the molecular basis of the disease and improved adjuvant therapies. Recently, there has been an increased interest in cancer metabolomics, and in particular, the potential for targeting glucose metabolism, for therapeutic gain. This interest stems from the fact that cancer cells metabolize glucose very differently from normal cells. Cancer cells preferentially switch to aerobic glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation as their means of glucose metabolism. This metabolic switch is believed to enhance cancer cell survival. Several therapeutic agents that target tumor metabolism have shown significant cancer cell cytotoxicity in preclinical studies, and some have progressed to clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the alteration of carbohydrate metabolism seen in cancer cells, the underlying mechanisms, and opportunities for targeting cancer metabolism for therapeutic purposes.

© 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc

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