Metabolic reprogramming: a cancer hallmark even warburg did not anticipate

Cancer Cell. 2012 Mar 20;21(3):297-308. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.02.014.


Cancer metabolism has long been equated with aerobic glycolysis, seen by early biochemists as primitive and inefficient. Despite these early beliefs, the metabolic signatures of cancer cells are not passive responses to damaged mitochondria but result from oncogene-directed metabolic reprogramming required to support anabolic growth. Recent evidence suggests that metabolites themselves can be oncogenic by altering cell signaling and blocking cellular differentiation. No longer can cancer-associated alterations in metabolism be viewed as an indirect response to cell proliferation and survival signals. We contend that altered metabolism has attained the status of a core hallmark of cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Isoenzymes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc