What is Metabolism in Cancers?

Metabolism plays a crucial role in the development and progression of various diseases, including cancers. These metabolic changes also help cancer cells evade the body's natural defenses and resist chemotherapy.

5 minutes Read                                                                                                                             Date: 24-April-2023

Metabolism in Cancers and Other Diseases

People having metabolic syndrome are found at high risk of suffering from a number of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and others. Over the decade, the evidence-based knowledge of cancer metabolism has advanced exponentially providing multiple targets for therapy for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Cancer patients suffering from metabolic syndrome tend to face more complications during cancer treatment like cancer spread and the limited chance for survival for a long.

What is Cancer metabolism?

It is a process conducted by cancer cells to get energy for their survival and growth. Metabolism is the process of absorbing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from the intake of food by the cells. Cancer metabolism is an unhealthy process that supports the growth of cancer cells. Under cancer metabolism, cancer cells use more glucose to produce less energy for the body but more of what they need to spread and grow fast. Although this shift provides a favorable environment for the growth of cancer cells, it also develops a vulnerability space because new cells become dependent on the alternative pathway of consuming energy; using this vulnerability space is the objective of targeted therapies. Retarding and stopping cancer metabolism is the key goal of targeted therapies.

Metabolic adaptations in cancer cells are found to initiate alterations in metabolic signaling. The amino acid glutamine is an important metabolic fuel for proliferating cells. Many cancer cells depend on glutamine to meet their energy demands. Glutamine metabolism has become an important therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Amino acid transporters also empower glutamine to enter cancer cells and get converted into glutamate which acts as a precursor for TCA (tricarboxylic acid cycle). Mutations in IDH1 and IDH2 support metabolic reprogramming triggering a variety of cancers. Mitochondrial Enzymes Glutaminase and Glutamate Dehydrogenase are also responsible for malignancy.

Targeted Therapies

Metabolic therapy is a treatment approach primarily focused on controlling the cancer cell metabolism and stopping the energy supply required by cancer cells. Administering targeted metabolic therapy is relatively a new approach to attacking cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected. Targeted therapy doesn’t kill the cancer cells but stops these from making new ones. Over time, targeted therapy has become a clinically certified treatment of types of cancer like breast, lung, bladder, kidney, stomach, leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma, and others. There are four types of targeted therapies-

  • Small Molecule Medicines: Because of being small, these slip inside cancer cells to destroy them.

  • Monoclonal Antibodies: Because of being big, these attack cancer cells from the outside.

  • Hormone therapies: These stop making hormones required by breast and prostate cancer cells to survive and grow.

  • Signal transduction inhibitors: One of the most common targeted therapies, it blocks signals telling cells to divide fast.

  • Angiogenesis inhibitors: It blocks the growth of blood vessels formed by cancer cells to get nutrients and oxygen for their growth.

Treatment of Cancer Metabolism

The metabolic landscape in cancer cells still has a wide scope for medical practitioners to advance targeted therapies and develop new drugs to target metabolic processes and deprive cancer cells. The clinical goal is to catalog all the cancer-causing metabolites in a patient’s body; and, use the documented information to decide the right treatment pathway. CCR investigators are using advanced clinical imaging technology. The understanding of a relationship between metabolism and cancer is used to determine the aggressiveness of a patient’s tumor growth as well as to monitor the results of treatment.

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