Muthu M, Nordström A
Int J Mol Sci 20 (6) 1385 [2019-03-19; online 2019-03-19]
Tumor cells exhibit a specialized metabolism supporting their superior ability for rapid proliferation, migration, and apoptotic evasion. It is reasonable to assume that the specific metabolic needs of the tumor cells can offer an array of therapeutic windows as pharmacological disturbance may derail the biochemical mechanisms necessary for maintaining the tumor characteristics, while being less important for normally proliferating cells. In addition, the specialized metabolism may leave a unique metabolic signature which could be used clinically for diagnostic or prognostic purposes. Quantitative global metabolic profiling (metabolomics) has evolved over the last two decades. However, despite the technology's present ability to measure 1000s of endogenous metabolites in various clinical or biological specimens, there are essentially no examples of metabolomics investigations being translated into actual utility in the cancer clinic. This review investigates the current efforts of using metabolomics as a tool for translation of tumor metabolism into the clinic and further seeks to outline paths for increasing the momentum of using tumor metabolism as a biomarker and drug target opportunity.