Tumor suppressors and cell metabolism: a recipe for cancer growth

Genes Dev. 2009 Mar 1;23(5):537-48. doi: 10.1101/gad.1756509.


Growing tumors face two major metabolic challenges-how to meet the bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands of increased cell proliferation, and how to survive environmental fluctuations in external nutrient and oxygen availability when tumor growth outpaces the delivery capabilities of the existing vasculature. Cancer cells display dramatically altered metabolic circuitry that appears to directly result from the oncogenic mutations selected during the tumorigenic process. An emerging theme in cancer biology is that many of the genes that can initiate tumorigenesis are intricately linked to metabolic regulation. In turn, it appears that a number of well-established tumor suppressors play critical roles in suppressing growth and/or proliferation when intracellular supplies of essential metabolites become reduced. In this review, we consider the potential role of tumor suppressors as metabolic regulators.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells / cytology*
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / physiology*
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Oncogenes / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases