Metabolomics and cancer drug discovery: let the cells do the talking

Drug Discov Today. 2012 Jan;17(1-2):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2011.09.017. Epub 2011 Oct 4.


Recent developments in cancer research have led to reconsiderations regarding metabolic dysfunctions in cancer cell proliferation and differentiation. The original concept stemmed from the observation that, even in presence of oxygen, highly proliferating cells tend to generate energy strictly from the glycolytic pathway, through a process called aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect. More recently, advances in the field of metabolomics applied to cancer research enabled the documenting of the generality of the Warburg effect in a broad variety of tumors. Through metabolomics, cancer cells told us that oxidative stress, while representing one leading cause of genetic instability underpinning carcinogenesis, could also deliver a window of probable therapeutic opportunities that is worth opening.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents