Targeting cancer metabolism: a therapeutic window opens

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 Aug 31;10(9):671-84. doi: 10.1038/nrd3504.


Genetic events in cancer activate signalling pathways that alter cell metabolism. Clinical evidence has linked cell metabolism with cancer outcomes. Together, these observations have raised interest in targeting metabolic enzymes for cancer therapy, but they have also raised concerns that these therapies would have unacceptable effects on normal cells. However, some of the first cancer therapies that were developed target the specific metabolic needs of cancer cells and remain effective agents in the clinic today. Research into how changes in cell metabolism promote tumour growth has accelerated in recent years. This has refocused efforts to target metabolic dependencies of cancer cells as a selective anticancer strategy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Enzymes / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzymes
  • Lactates
  • Glutamine
  • NAD
  • Glucose