Reprogramming of Cancer Cell Metabolism: Warburg and Reverse Warburg Hypothesis
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Every cell requires energy which they obtain from oxidative phosphorylation to perform major metabolic functions. This energy requirement is dependent on their metabolic rate, and it is expected that higher the metabolic rate, higher is the amount of energy expended. However, cancer cells have a unique metabolic behavior where they require only a minimal amount of energy, exhibiting a condition called the Warburg effect to survive and proliferate. They undergo glycolysis despite the availability of adequate oxygen (aerobic glycolysis) and obtain less energy as compared to normal cells from this process. This finding has helped many researchers to look for an alternative in treating cancer which is one of the leading causes of death today. This chapter will elucidate on the role of Warburg effect in modulating cancer cell metabolism and describe recent findings on this unique pathway employed by cancer cells. The chapter will also shed light on an alternative model called the reverse Warburg effect that provides an environment rich in energy for tumor growth and discuss the potential of using this pathway for therapeutically targeting cancer cells.
KeywordsCancer Metastasis Metabolism Glycolysis Warburg effect Microenvironment Oxidative phosphorylation
The authors would like to thank Keerthika J. Jayachandran for helping them with the graphic design of Fig. 2.1.
Financial support: S.H. laboratory is supported by selective excellence initiative grant from the SRM Institute of Science and Technology.
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