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Clin Lung Cancer. 2014 Jan;15(1):7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Altered glutamine metabolism and therapeutic opportunities for lung cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
2
Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA.
3
Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA.
4
Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, Atlanta, GA. Electronic address: towonik@emory.edu.

Abstract

Disordered cancer metabolism was described almost a century ago as an abnormal adaptation of cancer cells to glucose utilization especially in hypoxic conditions; the so-called Warburg effect. Greater research interest in this area in the past two decades has led to the recognition of the critical coupling of specific malignant phenotypes such as increased proliferation and resistance to programmed cell death (apoptosis) with altered metabolic handling of key molecules that are essential for normal cellular metabolism. The altered glucose metabolism frequently encountered in cancer cells has already been exploited for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The role of other glycolytic pathway intermediates and alternative pathways for energy generation and macromolecular synthesis in cancer cells has only become recognized more recently. Especially, the important role of altered glutamine metabolism in the malignant behavior of cancer cells and the potential exploitation of this cellular adaptation for therapeutic targeting has now emerged as an important area of cancer research. Expectedly, attempts to exploit this understanding for diagnostic and therapeutic ends are running apace with the elucidation of the complex metabolic alterations that accompany neoplastic transformation. Because lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death with limited curative therapy options, careful elucidation of the mechanism and consequences of disordered cancer metabolism in lung cancer is warranted. This review provides a concise, systematic overview of the current understanding of the role of altered glutamine metabolism in cancer, and how these findings intersect with current and future approaches to lung cancer management.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer metabolism; Glutaminase; Glutamine; Imaging; Lung cancer

PMID:
24377741
PMCID:
PMC3970234
DOI:
10.1016/j.cllc.2013.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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