New insights into how cancer cells fuel their growth are opening novel possibilities for cancer treatment. A team of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has identified a long sought after connection between how cancer cells use the sugar glucose to generate energy – the Warburg pathway – and cancer growth. They found that PFKFB4, an enzyme in the Warburg pathway, can activate SRC-3, a potent driver of breast cancer. The study appears in the journal Nature.
“In the 1920s, Otto Warburg and his colleagues discovered that cancer cells consume larger amounts of glucose than normal cells,” said senior author Dr. Bert O’Malley, chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology, Thomas C. Thompson Chair in Cell Biology and associate director of basic research in the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
To generate energy from glucose, cells can use one of two pathways. One of them takes place in the mitochondria, energy-producing structures inside cells, and yields significantly more energy – ATP – than the second pathway, called fermentation. Normal cells mostly use the path in the mitochondria, but about 80 percent of cancer cells seem to have revamped their metabolism to
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