For decades, it has been recognized that cancer cells display a unique metabolism; specifically, cancer cells have been shown to preferentially utilize glycolysis instead of mitochondrial respiration. This phenomenon is commonly known as the “Warburg effect” after Otto Warburg who first made this observation in 1927. The discovery of the Warburg effect has lead to new methods of detection and differentiation of cancerous tissue and normal tissue. More recently, alterations in cancer metabolism have been researched as a possible target for chemotherapeutic intervention in a number of cancers. The push to understand the metabolism of cancer cells has been particularly acute in breast cancer cells, where multiple novel metabolic mechanisms have recently been described and characterized. However, despite this recent progress, the completion of additional studies on the cellular metabolism of breast cancer cells is necessary before drugs that target cancer cell metabolism could be available to disease-afflicted women. Here, we review recent discoveries in breast cancer cell metabolism as well as current logical drug targets that could be used to alter cell metabolism to promote the selective elimination of breast cancer cells.
Keywords: Breast cancer, cell metabolism, cell death, glucose metabolism, hypoxia, Warburg effect, autophagy, cancer metabolism
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Published on: 01 March, 2012
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