c-Myc and cancer metabolism

Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Oct 15;18(20):5546-53. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0977.


The processes of cellular growth regulation and cellular metabolism are closely interrelated. The c-Myc oncogene is a "master regulator" which controls many aspects of both of these processes. The metabolic changes which occur in transformed cells, many of which are driven by c-Myc overexpression, are necessary to support the increased need for nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids necessary for rapid cellular proliferation. At the same time, c-Myc overexpression results in coordinated changes in level of expression of gene families which result in increased cellular proliferation. This interesting duality of c-Myc effects places it in the mainstream of transformational changes and gives it a very important role in regulating the "transformed phenotype." The effects induced by c-Myc can occur either as a "primary oncogene" which is activated by amplification or translocation or as a downstream effect of other activated oncogenes. In either case, it appears that c-Myc plays a central role in sustaining the changes which occur with transformation. Although efforts to use c-Myc as a therapeutic target have been quite frustrating, it appears that this may change in the next few years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic* / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Glycolysis*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc* / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc* / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Glutamine