Cancer cell metabolism described by Otto Warburg in the thirties became a cancer specific hallmark, also called "Warburg effect". Cancer cells use essentially glucose as fuel, through glycolysis, in order to meet their energy and biomass needs to insure their cell proliferation. Recent advances describe Warburg effect regulation by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Moreover, mutations in some glycolysis enzymes are found in various cancers, highlighting the role of cell metabolism in cancer. In this review, we describe the mechanisms responsible for the Warburg effect at the molecular and cellular level, the role of cell signalling along with the implication of different transcription factors. As a cause or a consequence of tumorigenesis, the Warburg effect is now considered as a promising therapeutic target in the fight against cancer.
© 2013 médecine/sciences – Inserm.