Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 38, Issue 1–2, pp 149–155 | Cite as

Acidosis and cancer: from mechanism to neutralization

  • Arig Ibrahim-HashimEmail author
  • Veronica Estrella


The extracellular pH of solid tumors is unequivocally acidic due to a combination of high rates of lactic acid production (a consequence of fermentative glycolytic metabolism) and poor perfusion. This has been documented by us and others in a wide variety of solid tumor models, primarily using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI). This acidity contributes to tumor progression by inducing genome instability, promoting local invasion and metastases, inhibiting anti-tumor immunity, and conferring resistance to chemo- and radio-therapies. Systemic buffer therapies can neutralize tumor acidity and has been shown to inhibit local invasion and metastasis and improve immune surveillance in a variety of cancer model systems. This review will revisit the causes and consequences of acidosis by summarizing strategies used by cancer cells to adapt to acidosis, and how this acidity associated with carcinogenesis, metastasis, and immune function. Finally, this review will discuss how neutralization of acidity can be used to inhibit carcinogenesis and metastasis and improve anti-cancer immunotherapy.


Acidosis Carcinogenesis Metastasis Neutralization Immunotherapy 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cancer PhysiologyH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstituteTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oncological SciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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