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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Jul 1;16(13):3322-8. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1955. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

New strategies in prostate cancer: targeting lipogenic pathways and the energy sensor AMPK.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Although the role of metabolic syndrome (MS) and a high fat diet in prostate cancer (PCa) risk is still a matter of intense debate, it is becoming increasingly clear that obesity can cause perturbations in metabolic pathways that contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of PCa. Moreover, prostate epithelial cells per se undergo a series of metabolic changes, including an increase in de novo lipogenesis, during the process of tumor formation. These metabolic alterations, at both the cellular and organismal levels, are intertwined with genetic aberrations necessary for neoplastic transformation. Thus, altered metabolism is currently subject to intense research efforts and might provide preventative and therapeutic opportunities, as well as a platform for biomarker development. In this article, we review evidence that the metabolic sensor 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which physiologically integrates nutritional and hormonal signals and regulates cell survival and growth-related metabolic pathways to preserve intracellular ATP levels, represents a link between energy homeostasis and cancer. Thus, when AMPK is not activated, as in the setting of MS and obesity, systemic metabolic alterations permissive to the development of PCa are allowed to proceed unchecked. Hence, the use of AMPK activators and inhibitors of key lipogenic enzymes may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for PCa.

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