AMPK as a Potential Anticancer Target - Friend or Foe?

Author(s): Hsiao-Ching Chuang, Chih-Chien Chou, Samuel K. Kulp, Ching-Shih Chen

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 20 , Issue 15 , 2014

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Abstract:

Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key player in maintaining energy homeostasis in response to metabolic stress. Beyond diabetes and metabolic syndrome, there is a growing interest in the therapeutic exploitation of the AMPK pathway in cancer treatment in light of its unique ability to regulate cancer cell proliferation through the reprogramming of cell metabolism. Although many studies support the tumor-suppressive role of AMPK, emerging evidence suggests that the metabolic checkpoint function of AMPK might be overridden by stress or oncogenic signals so that tumor cells use AMPK activation as a survival strategy to gain growth advantage. These findings underscore the complexity in the cellular function of AMPK in maintaining energy homeostasis under physiological versus pathological conditions. Thus, this review aims to provide an overview of recent findings on the functional interplay of AMPK with different cell metabolic and signaling effectors, particularly histone deacetylases, in mediating downstream tumor suppressive or promoting mechanisms in different cell systems. Although AMPK activation inhibits tumor growth by targeting multiple signaling pathways relevant to tumorigenesis, under certain cellular contexts or certain stages of tumor development, AMPK might act as a protective response to metabolic stresses, such as nutrient deprivation, low oxygen, and low pH, or as downstream effectors of oncogenic proteins, including androgen receptor, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, c-Src, and MYC. Thus, investigations to define at which stage(s) of tumorigenesis and cancer progression or for which genetic aberrations AMPK inhibition might represent a more relevant strategy than AMPK activation for cancer treatment are clearly warranted.

Keywords: AMPK, metabolic homeostasis, cancer therapy, LKB1, mTORC1, HDAC, Foxo3a, HIF-1α.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 20
ISSUE: 15
Year: 2014
Page: [2607 - 2618]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/13816128113199990485
Price: $65

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