Metabolic scavenging by cancer cells: when the going gets tough, the tough keep eating

Michalopoulou, E., Bulusu, V. and Kamphorst, J. J. (2016) Metabolic scavenging by cancer cells: when the going gets tough, the tough keep eating. British Journal of Cancer, 115(6), pp. 635-640. (doi: 10.1038/bjc.2016.256) (PMID:27537393) (PMCID:PMC5023784)

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Cancer is fundamentally a disease of uncontrolled cell proliferation. Tumour metabolism has emerged as an exciting new discipline studying how cancer cells obtain the necessary energy and cellular ‘building blocks’ to sustain growth. Glucose and glutamine have long been regarded as the key nutrients fuelling tumour growth. However, the inhospitable tumour microenvironment of certain cancers, like pancreatic cancer, causes the supply of these nutrients to be chronically insufficient for the demands of proliferating cancer cells. Recent work has shown that cancer cells are able to overcome this nutrient insufficiency by scavenging alternative substrates, particularly proteins and lipids. Here, we review recent work identifying the endocytic process of macropinocytosis and subsequent lysosomal processing as an important substrate-acquisition route. In addition, we discuss the impact of hypoxia on fatty acid metabolism and the relevance of exogenous lipids for supporting tumour growth as well as the routes by which tumour cells can access these lipids. Together, these cancer-specific scavenging pathways provide a promising opportunity for therapeutic intervention.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamphorst, Dr Jurre and Bulusu, Dr Vinay
Authors: Michalopoulou, E., Bulusu, V., and Kamphorst, J. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:British Journal of Cancer
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1532-1827
Published Online:18 August 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Cancer Research UK
First Published:First published in British Journal of Cancer 115(6): 635-640
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
655161The effect of tumour microenvironment on the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cellsJurre KamphorstCancer Research UK (CAN-RES-UK)17728ICS - BEATSON INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RES.