Mitochondrial metabolism and cancer

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Oct;1177:66-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05039.x.


Historically, it has been assumed that glycolytic metabolism, not mitochondrial metabolism, is essential for tumor cell proliferation. However, most tumor cells have functional mitochondria, and recent studies suggest that the citric acid cycle (TCA) cycle intermediates are precursors for synthesis of nucleotides, lipids, and amino acids. Here we review the accumulating evidence that mitochondrial metabolism plays an essential role in tumor cell proliferation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Citric Acid Cycle / physiology
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Glutamine
  • NADP
  • Adenosine Triphosphate