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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Sep;9(9):1383-90.

Differential toxic mechanisms of 2-deoxy-D-glucose versus 2-fluorodeoxy-D-glucose in hypoxic and normoxic tumor cells.

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University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine and Sylvester Cancer Center, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.


The dependence of hypoxic tumor cells on glycolysis as their main means of producing ATP provides a selective target for agents that block this pathway, such as 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) and 2-fluoro-deoxy-D-glucose (2-FDG). Moreover, it was demonstrated that 2-FDG is a more potent glycolytic inhibitor with greater cytotoxic activity than 2-DG. This activity correlates with the closer structural similarity of 2-FDG to glucose than 2-DG, which makes it a better inhibitor of hexokinase, the first enzyme in the glycolytic pathway. In contrast, because of its structural similarity to mannose, 2-DG is known to be more effective than 2-FDG in interfering with N-linked glycosylation. Recently, it was reported that 2-DG, at a relatively low dose, is toxic to certain tumor cells, even under aerobic conditions, whereas 2-FDG is not. These results indicate that the toxic effects of 2-DG in selected tumor cells under aerobic conditions is through inhibition of glycosylation rather than glycolysis. The intention of this minireview is to discuss the effects and potential clinical impact of 2-DG and 2-FDG as antitumor agents and to clarify the differential mechanisms by which these two glucose analogues produce toxicity in tumor cells growing under anaerobic or aerobic conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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