6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase and tumor cell glycolysis

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Sep;9(5):535-9. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000241661.15514.fb.


Purpose of review: Neoplastic cells metabolize abundant glucose relative to normal cells in order to satisfy the increased energetic and anabolic needs of the transformed state. This review will summarize the requirement of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatases for the regulation of glycolysis in cancer cells and their potential utility as targets for the development of antineoplastic agents.

Recent findings: The steady-state concentration of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate controls the overall rate of glycolysis by allosterically activating a rate-limiting enzyme, 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase. The intracellular concentration of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate is controlled by a family of bifunctional 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatases that are encoded by four independent genes (PFKFB1-4). The 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase encoded by the PFKFB3 gene has the highest kinase:phosphatase activity ratio of the four enzymes and thus contributes significantly to the synthesis of fructose-2,6-bisphosphate. PFKFB3 is activated by mitogenic, inflammatory and hypoxic stimuli, and was recently found to be constitutively expressed by several human leukemias and solid tumor cells. By setting the intracellular fructose-2,6-bisphosphate concentration, PFKFB3 controls glycolytic flux to lactate and the nonoxidative pentose shunt, and is selectively required for the tumorigenic growth of ras-transformed cells.

Summary: These findings demonstrate a key role for the 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatases in neoplastic transformation and provide rationale for the development of agents that selectively inhibit the PFKFB3 enzyme as antineoplastic agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glycolysis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphofructokinase-2 / metabolism*


  • PFKFB3 protein, human
  • Phosphofructokinase-2