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Anaesthesist. 2007 May;56(5):466-9.

[Lactate and redox status in malignant tumors].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Physiologie und Pathophysiologie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Duesbergweg 6, 55099 Mainz, Deutschland.


This article summarizes data from experimental and clinical oncology which are indicative of a pivotal role of tumor carbohydrate metabolism in malignant behavior and outcome of treatment. In primary tumors, such as cervix carcinomas, head and neck squamous cell carcinomas or rectum adenocarcinomas, elevated lactate levels as a mirror of a high glycolytic activity, are correlated even at the initial diagnosis with a high level of malignancy as indicated by increased formation of metastases or an elevated radiotherapy resistance. The relationship between therapeutic resistance and glycolysis may at least partially be due to the radical scavenging potential of glycolytic intermediates, mainly pyruvate and lactate and to the link between these metabolites and the cellular redox status. On the basis of these data and other considerations, a novel technique has been developed for imaging the lactate/pyruvate ratio in tumor biopsies using quantitative bioluminescence. More research effort should, therefore, be focussed on the redox status of tumors in oncological studies in the future.

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