Oncometabolites: linking altered metabolism with cancer

J Clin Invest. 2013 Sep;123(9):3652-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI67228. Epub 2013 Sep 3.


The discovery of cancer-associated mutations in genes encoding key metabolic enzymes has provided a direct link between altered metabolism and cancer. Advances in mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance technologies have facilitated high-resolution metabolite profiling of cells and tumors and identified the accumulation of metabolites associated with specific gene defects. Here we review the potential roles of such "oncometabolites" in tumor evolution and as clinical biomarkers for the detection of cancers characterized by metabolic dysregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carboxylic Acids / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Fumarate Hydratase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase
  • Fumarate Hydratase